Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Blues right wing David Perron

ST. LOUIS -- If these were normal times and David Perron would have been playing an 82-game season, 2020-21 would have been a banner, and career year, for the Blues right wing.
(St. Louis Blues/Scott Rovak)
David Perron led the Blues in points (58) and assists (39) this season but
had his season cut short for the playoffs after a positive CIVID-19 test.  

The first Blue to average more than a point per game (58 on 19 goals, 39 assists) in 56 games since Pavol Demitra had 93 points in 76 games in 2002-02 was arguably his most complete season, his 14th in the NHL.

And with the way Perron, 32, was heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season, there was one guy that was more than looking forward to facing the Colorado Avalanche, this season's Presidents' Trophy winners.

Well, these haven't been normal times and Perron's banner season came to a crashing halt when on the day the Blues would travel to Denver for Games 1 and 2, Perron received the awful news that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and placed on the NHL's protocol list and missed the series.


Perron was obviouly disappointed in how it ended, not only for him but for the Blues as well, who were fourth in the West Division this season. 

Here are his thoughts: 

On finding out about the test results, was it crushing for you:
I found out like, we test every day, so I just got the result from Ray and many things were maybe leaning towards a false positive, but it ended up I had COVID so that's what happened and it was really hard to watch away from the team. I didn't realize how hard it would be to be away and to kind of ... I don't really get nervous about hockey playing games and stuff, but being away watching not being able to do anything to help was tough.

Have any symptoms:
Yeah, it was like not bad, just like a couple days the first 3-4 days and that was it really. I don't want to minimize it, but there's a feeling that I've played with worse things before and it's a situation where there's a protocol and obviously the way it can spread around and all that stuff. That's tough.

With the great season that you had, and for it to end like that, feel like a gut punch:
Yeah, I was just hoping at least the boys would get like one game, one win there, because there's a chance that I could have maybe play that game. I'm not sure if they would have cleared me, but I was doing everything in my power to get that done and what it was going to be like manage minutes or not. I just wanted to be out there, find a way out there, who knows what can happen, but yeah, it was really hard. Like you said, the season I had, I felt like I had momentum going the right way and sure enough, also as a team, we go the whole year cleanly or basically the only team in the NHL and we lived through some games that were like canceled and all that stuff. They moved the schedule around and then when it came our time, that didn't happen, so that was disappointing for me also.

On moving games in regular season, not in playoffs because of COVID:
Yeah, exactly. I don't know why in a way. It wasn't really playoffs also. There's one series that wasn't started for another four days maybe, take those 3-4 days, I don't know, it's over now. Obviously those are things that I'm sitting at home and everyone's hitting me up and trying to find out what's going on and because of the situation of the playoffs, I just didn't get back to anyone. I apologize if you reached out, anyone, and I didn't get back to you, but I just felt it was better to leave it like that. Obviously I appreciate some of the tests I got too.

Can you say if you were vaccinated:
Yeah, but like I've seen some tweets about that and I don't know why it's a big deal as much for guys. Like the three guys that got it, we were. It's unfortunate and it shows that it's not perfect and I get it, why people can ask. But in the room, I can tell you that we support each individual to make their own decision and it's a tough bounce for the three guys that got it.

Asked again to clear up if he could have played Game 5:
I don't know. That's me like deep down thinking that if there's a chance I could get out there, I will find a way to be out there, but I don't know if I could have done everything needed and maybe convince the doctors and all that to put me out there, but if you're asking me, I would have been out there. But I'm not sure. I don't know, sorry. I don't know, it never happened so we don't know, but I guess Game 5 would have been today and I feel like I could, yeah.

Feel like you were getting close:
I don't know, I didn't skate, but the last night basically that we lost, it was my last day in the protocol.

Confirm you were vaccinated:
Yeah, I don't want to talk about that anymore. I was, yes.

Difficult because you took so many precautions, vaxed and still got it:
Yeah, I think as a team we did. The thing that's tough like with the protocol, we were still testing every day regardless of your situation, it's ... I don't know, I think it was just a tough year for everyone mentally too, but it is disappointing to go through the whole time and that's when it happens at the end. With Wally, I think everyone was a little bit shocked because he was vaccinated as well and then same as Walks. Yeah, it's tough.

Any explanation from doctors, variant strains going on:
I'm not a doctor, but I think if you Google it and I googled so many things about COVID, you can still get it regardless. It's a tough bounce.

Torture watching playoffs, could have helped the team:
I think it was the whole thing. I feel like the last like, we had a couple good spurts of the season and one really tough part in the middle and the last part, I think we grinded out of our hole a little bit when Arizona was ahead of us. We played Colorado, we played Minnesota a bunch and we had good results against them so we had somewhat of a good feeling going into it. We had lines that were a little bit more set than they had been the whole year, those last three or four games when we played LA and Minnesota. It was really hard, yes. I know I could have helped in certain areas, but at the same time, I thought the guys got put into situations that some of them weren't there before or whatever. I thought some guys did a good job and they worked. They're a good team over there. It is hard for sure. It was the hardest thing I had to do in a while as far as just watching away. After games, the games were late enough that you think you can go right to bed after, but I was so mad and frustrated, all kinds of emotions that I feel I couldn't sleep.

Did you feel like there's differences between you and those top-tiered teams, a big gap:
First of all, we had like a turnover of players in the last couple years that have been impactful players, not only on the ice but in the leadership department and the culture department of this team, the identity to every single night, we know what to expect and I think obviously with JayBo, Petro and Steener, that's going to be a big difference there. I thought we did a good job last year before COVID hit, now it's up to us to challenge each other to really kind of grab that back, not let it slip much further than that. You can look at it, yes there was a gap, but at the same time, I'd like to see our team playing with Sunny playing, with myself playing, Faulker, those guys missing, Bortuzzo, even Gunny. See where we would have been at playing them like that. I think we could have had a chance, but it's up to us to show it next year and if we don't start showing it, we know what direction it could go as well. I think at times from playing and watching, I just felt like we weren't sustaining the momentum that one line would go out there and it would turn into a different game. We had to stay true to our culture, our identity. I think that's the way to have success moving forward.

On coach Craig Berube saying identity wasn't there at times this year, feel like newer players, younger players (rush players) feel like style is different than what coaches/management wants team to play:
It's a tough question, it's a good question. I think it's up to the coaches, it's up to the players to help those guys along to understand what we need. Obviously we can use every strength of every player, but at the same time, there's an identity here. It's more than just these coaches, I think it's been going on for longer that's been working and we had success not long ago doing it. You see there's other tams around he league that ... I just think you have more control over a game when you play deep in the zone, when you control the puck than trying to match rush plays against a team like Colorado. You also saw teams like Edmonton, they liked their rush game. I don't know if that's the way to win in the playoffs either. It's all about the playoffs for me. I want to win the Cup. I still think it's the way to win. We saw Tampa Bay last year, they had trouble getting over the hump, but they got some heavy guys in Pat Maroon, Coleman, those guys, Goodrow and they found a way to win it. I think those guys were really impactful to their success and I think we're going to see the same again whoever wins.

Is there enough here to still be a Cup contender:
Yeah, I think there is. Again, it's going to be up to us to show it but I do think this year, we need to kind of raise our team game a little bit. I thought you guys could see that one line would go out and then they would kind of fall off and pick it back up. That's the big thing Steener brought up over the years here, how important it is to set up the next guy, how important the team game is, the culture. That's been a staple on this team for a longer than even those coaches that we have right now. I think we're all on board in a way, but we have to show it.

Defensively, the team improved down the stretch, but over long haul, wasn't the kind of Blues defense we're used to seeing. Any thoughts on that:
There was an adjustment. Like I said, we lost some guys, like key pieces, so yeah, we can't expect to just be the same team. We don't have the same players. It takes a little bit for everyone to understand, get on the same page. Parayko was banged up for a good part of the season, if not the whole year. Even when he played, you could tell he was starting to get healthy at the end, but just him, JayBo and those guys, they were the staple of our defense like the year we won. Guys, I think, have done a good job of coming in, like Kruger on our power play, to start the way we did and to finish the way we did too as a power play unit at the end, that was impressive. We were 30th in the league for a while, I think, and we finished top-5, top-10. So I think some guys did a good job to grab some stuff back, but we can still raise many areas of our game.

On entertaining extension this offseason, want to finish career as a Blue:
Well then that would have to be an eight-year deal then to finish my career (laughing). I think it's definitely something that I love the city, I love the guys here, I love just the mentality of the team and everything about it. Definitely feel comfortable. I hope they feel the same about my game and the way it's going. I'm going to keep working as hard as I can to keep improving and to find little details in my game that can make me a little more complete as a player, trying to keep adding to the leadership department and all that stuff. Of course it's something that I hope we can get into, but we'll see how it's going to go. I think these are conversations that we're not going to have right now. We'll see. It's not in the immediate (future) how we're going to do our things, but we'll see. That would be nice.

Nice line, but you're serious, you're kind of player who thinks you can play until you're 40-41:
I said that to Panger after the last game of the season and I just feel like I'm scared of the end, so I want to keep getting better, I want to keep improving, I want to keep pushing harder in the gym to basically give myself the best chance to keep playing. You never know when this is over and yes, I do see other guys around the league that have been successful. I'm not the greatest skater, but there are other guys in the same situation and they are successful. You see guys like T.J. Oshie, those guys. He's not the fastest skater either, but he's got a lot of things that he does well. He's getting up there in age as well. I think absolutely I want to play as long as I can. It's got to make sense for everyone, but hopefully we can talk about that.

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