Sunday, May 16, 2021

Perron remains on COVID protocol list, status uncertain for Game 1 against Avalanche

Forward led Blues in assists, points, played 
in all 56 regular-season games this season

It probably wasn't the news Blues fans were looking for regarding David Perron.

Instead of telling the assembled media during a Sunday Zoom call that Perron, placed on the NHL Covid protocol list on Saturday, was a false positive, Berube would refer that he's in NHL protocol.
(St. Louis Blues/Scott Rovak)
David Perron (right) remained on the NHL COVID protocol list on
Sunday and his status for Game 1 Monday is uncertain.

"David's on the COVID protocol list right now, so that's all dealt with the NHL," Berube said Sunday afternoon.

When asked if Perron was with the team or in St. Louis, Berube said, "He's in the NHL protocol right now."

And that's that.

There wasn't much in the form of a hint of optimism that Perron, who led the Blues in assists (39) and points (58) this season, would be available for Game 1 of the first round series against the Colorado Avalanche that begins Monday.

Perron joined defenseman Jake Walman and taxi squad forward Nathan Walker on the list.

"Well, there's always concern, right," Berube said. "Again, it's the NHL that handles the protocols. We're focused on playing right now."

But you can tell from the players that this wasn't the news they were looking or hoping for. It's definitely a blow for a team looking to upset the Presidents' Trophy winners.

"He led our team in scoring, he's a big part of what we do, especially on the power play, 5-on-5 he's in on the forecheck and he competes like crazy," defenseman Torey Krug said. "If we don't have him, it's a big blow for sure."

"Obviously it's frustrating and he's in protocol and such, but he's the heart and soul of this team," Blues captain Ryan O'Reilly said. "Phenomenal player and I think I've played with him most of the time I've been in St. Louis. Relied on him a lot. We'll see. Hopefully we get through fine, but yeah, it's frustrating."

Sunday's practice was a pretty good indication the Blues are prepared to move on, at least for the outset, without Perron, when O'Reilly centered a line with Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn. Perron has been a mainstay with O'Reilly since the Blues acquired O'Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres in 2018.

"I think it will be good," O'Reilly said. "Obviously 'Schenner,' I've played with quite a bit even this year, I've played with. Such a good two-way player that literally does everything. It's easy for myself when you've got him and 'Schwartzy' too, his work ethic, the way he sees the game, the little plays he makes. It's going to be an effective line. If we go out there and we work, we're going to find a way to turn pucks over and create momentum and create offense and we've got to be leading the way."

What it does is shuffle players around and move pieces in different spots. So what else is new? This has been the norm for the Blues, who have been blasted with injury after injury throughout the majority of the season.

"Well, we've been doing it all year long," Krug said. "The next-man-up mentality that we've been talking about, guys have stepped in collectively as a group. We've been able to overcome losing anyone on this group. That's the thing about this team is there's no one that's bigger than the team. We obviously have to do it on a bigger stage now."

Being in protocol, Perron cannot have any contact with teammates but can speak with them.

"I think he's a little frustrated as well," O'Reilly said. "We kind of talked briefly, but I think we all know it's just such a bad bounce. There's not much you can do about it and we have to stick with it and get through this while he's gone."

The Blues had set the standard for being relatively COVID-free for much of the season, other than two false positives to Sammy Blais and Zach Sanford earlier in the season that forced each to miss a game.

With Jake Walman the first confirmed positive test, and preceded by Walker and now Perron, who hasn't been confirmed to have had a positive test yet but its leaning that way, this is another level of concern.

"Obviously you don't want it to spread," Krug said. "Kind of what's going on, it is what it is. That's how it's been all year. It's just been whatever. You wake up in the morning and whatever happens that day, you just roll with it. That's the approach we're taking and obviously we're doing whatever we can to be smart and diligent about it and make sure this thing doesn't spread."

"I think we're all nervous, but we're doing the right things," O'Reilly said. "We're being as safe as we possibly can and hopefully there's no one else that's on it. It's tough that it's happened at this time, the most important time of our season, but we have to be safe, be smart, do the right things and get through it."

The positive news of the day is the potential return of forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who's missed the past six games and eight of nine due to a lower-body injury. 

Tarasenko, who has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 24 games this season after overcoming three shoulder surgeries since 2018, skated with Tyler Bozak and Ivan Barbashev.

"I'm not sure yet," Berube said regarding Tarasenko's availability. "We'll look at him here after practice, talk to him, so I'm not sure on him yet either."

The players remain hopeful.

"It would be nice to have him back, just the presence of him," O'Reilly said. "He's one of those guys that can just turn something out of nothing just with a quick little play or shot, it's just so dynamic that way. Having him back is just a big spark for us. He's a huge piece of this team and it will be nice to see him back with us."

Vince Dunn did not practice on Sunday, with what Berube called a little "bug" that kept him off the ice, but the defenseman, who's missed the past 11 games, still has a shot at playing Monday.

No comments:

Post a Comment