Wednesday, March 13, 2019


Perron travels, could be on the horizon of returning to lineup; Edmundson, 
Blais remain in St. Louis with injuries; Schenn, Sundqvist OK; Kyrou recalled

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The Blues could use a shot in the arm from an injury standpoint, and an offensive weapon could be on the horizon provided everything goes according to plan as far as the health of David Perron is concerned.

Perron accompanied the Blues on their three-game road trip that begins Thursday at Ottawa, the first time Perron has traveled since departing the lineup Jan. 17.

Perron has missed 23 games with a concussion and the symptoms related to it, including vision irregularities that apparently are the final hurdle to his insertion back into the lineup that require vision tests to pass.

Perron is no stranger to concussions. It's his second one, and the first one in 2010 forced him to miss 97 games when he was leveled by San Jose's Joe Thornton at the time.

This one is not quite as clear when it occurred, but Perron, who has 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists) in 45 games, was on a career-high 13-game point streak (six goals, 10 assists) when he left the lineup.

With Vladimir Tarasenko (upper body) currently out of the lineup, the Blues (36-26-7) could use some offensive pop, and with Perron traveling -- he's been skating and working out for several weeks now -- it could be a huge boost for the offense.

"He's coming, he's coming on the trip," interim coach Craig Berube said. "It's good he's coming, I'm glad he's coming. It's good to be around. No matter what, if he decides to play or he's ready, it's good for him to be around his teammates and get on the road and be around these guys. It's been a while.

"He's worked hard. He's in good shape. He's been skating, he's been practicing with us. I guess we'll just have to wait and see when he goes in there."

Along with Tarasenko, Perron and defenseman Carl Gunnarsson (wrist) missing from Tuesday's 3-1 loss to Arizona in which the Blues outshot the Coyotes 40-22, defenseman Joel Edmundson left the game midway through the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return, forward Sammy Blais sustained a lower-body injury in the second but returned for the third period, center Oskar Sundqvist limped off in the second but returned, and forward Brayden Schenn left in the second with an ailment but returned, then departed with 7:30 remaining after getting a stick and cut above the left eye and run into the protective glass near the Coyotes bench.

Edmundson did not accompany the Blues on the trip but could join at some point on the legs to Pittsburgh and Buffalo; Blais will miss the entire trip after Berube said he woke up Wednesday feeling worse; Schenn is OK and traveled and Sundqvist came out of it fine.

As a precaution, the Blues called up forward Jordan Kyrou from San Antonio of the American Hockey League, their second call-up of the alloted four they had after the trade deadline, meaning the Blues have two remaining, so it's a good bet to count on Kyrou staying with the Blues the rest of the season as to not burn a call-up. 

However, no extra defenseman has been called up as of yet as the Blues await to see how Edmundson progresses, but it means Michael Del Zotto will go back into the lineup for the Blues, his second game since being acquired at the trade deadline from Anaheim for a 2019 sixth-round pick.

With Blais out of the lineup, Robby Fabbri, who has played in just 14 of the past 44 games, will re-enter the lineup against the Senators on Thursday.

* Thomas' experience playing with top line -- Robert Thomas didn't hurt his chances of remaining on the top line with Ryan O'Reilly and Schenn on Tuesday but didn't put up any eye-popping numbers either.

It'll be a process for the 19-year-old, and he's OK with that.

"It wasn't the result we wanted, but I think as the game kind of went on, we got a lot of good looks, a lot of good o-zone time and were pretty close at a couple chances," Thomas said. "I think overall it was good, but we need to find a way to score."

Thomas finished with no points in 18:36 of ice time but was able to get just one shot attempt (a missed shot) and was a minus-1.

"The line was generating looks," Berube said. "They had a lot of attempts and shots. They could be cleaner. I think they forced some things at times. Maybe Robby forced some things at times where he doesn't need to. But on the other side of things, maybe he feels he has to playing on that top line setting those guys up. I'd like to see Robby attack a little bit more on his own and shoot and do a little but more at the net on his own. As of right now, I was pretty happy with that line."

Thomas was doing his best to try and set the other two up, and could be accused of trying to be too unselfish, but he didn't see it that way.

"I don't think so," he said. "I think a lot of the times it was me trying to make plays in the slot for them to shoot. I wouldn't say that one shot attempt was me from not shooting. I just think there were better plays to be made.

"The first period, I got caught a little behind. They transition so fast and before you know it, the puck's on your stick. I think that was kind of a transitioning period and as the game went along, I thought I got a lot better."

Berube agreed.

"Yeah, I think so. Schenn and O'Reilly, they've been playing together for a while now," Berube said. "They know each other and they play fast. They know where each other are and they're predictable and I think Robby had to kind of fit in a little bit there and figure it out."

Berube could shuffle the lines around for Thursday's game, especially if Perron returns, but if given another opportunity, Thomas would like to continue to build with them and continue to learn.

"For sure, it was a great experience for me to play with some top-end guys, seeing what works and what doesn't work," Thomas said. "I think if we keep going on like this, we're going to get a lot of good chances and keep building off it.

"Yeah, I was always asking questions after every shift, just little things where they would be and where they want the puck. Especially with 'Schenner' and O'Reilly, they're pretty communicative. We were talking after every shift."

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