Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Perron surprises teammates, joins them at informal skates

Winger in town skating this week, would like to
make move permanent pending CBA talks

CHESTERFIELD, Mo. -- The usual cast that has been encapsulated inside the Hardees IcePlex for more than a month now, because the National Hockey League lockout is in its sixth week, took in a surprising new member this week

That same cast, which includes David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Alex Pietrangelo, Andy McDonald, Kevin Shattenkirk, Barret Jackman, Scott Nichol, Jamie Langenbrunner, Brian Elliott (who is not here this week) as well as hometown players who play for other NHL franchises, welcomed David Perron into the foray this week.

Perron, who has been laying low and working out in his hometown Sherbrooke, Quebec, is back in St. Louis ... and his teammates were glad to have him here even though they were not aware he would be joining them.

"Yeah, it's fun to come in and check on everything and see the guys," Perron said, who got in town in time to join the workouts on Monday. "It's been a while. Coming into the room, it was like 15 minutes before practice and some of them didn't expect me to be there. I talked to Backes before. I don't know if he told everyone, but it was kind of nice to just come in and see everyone again."

Perron, who was also in St. Louis over the summer working out with Blues prospects in order to get himself better prepared for a 2012-13 season that nobody knows whether it will take place or not, would love nothing more than to make it a permanent stay.

"I think we all want to play," said Perron, who has remained relatively quiet as far as negotiations with the Collective Bargaining Agreement. "That's the main thing we want to do. But at the end of the day, there's the business side of things we've got to take care of. It's not the best part. That's not why we play, but at the same time, we've got to deal with it accordingly and in the right way. That's why we listen to the older guys.

"I think everyone has been really supportive of Don Fehr and the NHLPA. We've got to keep on going that way until it gets resolved."

Perron, who scored 42 points in 57 games last season after returning from a concussion suffered early in the 2010-11 season, worked extensively throughout the summer to help himself be 100 percent ready both mentally and physically for the upcoming campaign. But with the uncertainty of a season, the extra time to prepare hasn't really been all that beneficial.

"I don't know. I was ready by September," Perron said. "I think this last little while has actually been tough training-wise because you just don't know what's going to happen. Are you going to be like this the whole year, are you going to be like this a month, two months? It's just tough to figure out. I think for the most part, you can't stay on the ball for too long because you don't want the season to get started and be tired mentally."

Perron did play in a game earlier this month in his hometown as part of The Players' Tour, or in the French version: La Tournee des Joueurs. It is part of a series of charitable exhibition games pitting NHL players from the Montreal area against those from the Quebec City region, started by Philadelphia Flyers' Bruno Gervais and Max Talbot.

"I just played one game for different reasons, insurance-wise and stuff," Perron said. "But it's good to kind of see the guys getting together for charity.

"The game that I played was pretty unbelievable in my hometown ... 4,000 people in the rink was full in the junior rink up there. The whole thing around that was pretty special. For me to play in my hometown was fun, too."

If there is no end in sight to the NHL labor strife, Perron has indicated that he will not be -- at least for the time being -- part of a cast of players that have either headed overseas or will be going soon in order to play.

"I'll keep waiting and see, but I think I'm just going to stick around," Perron said. "I think my training has been really good. Obviously it's tough. I was really ready when September 15 came around for training camp. Once the NHL lockout came, you can't stay on that same intensity for too long because you'll get mentally tired and physically. I kind of backed off a little bit for the last little while. Now I'm trying to get back up to where I was and hopefully it will get started soon."

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