Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Buchnevich unlikely to play against Rangers

Forward was injured, put in concussion protocol with hit to 
head in loss against Senators; Scandella inching closer to return

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. -- Blues forward Pavel Buchnevich is doubtful to play against the New York Rangers on Thursday.
Pavel Buchnevich

Buchnevich was injured and put in concussion protocol when he took a shoulder hit to the head from Ottawa forward Austin Watson with 4:52 remaining of a 4-1 loss against the Senators on Tuesday.

Buchnevich hit his head against the glass and had trouble getting initially to his feet as Brayden Schenn moved the puck into the zone. The Blues were called for offsides with 4:43 remaining and Buchnevich was able to get to the bench.

Blues coach Craig Berube said after the game he thought Buchnevich was fine after the game, but had a much grimmer outlook Wednesday after practice.

"Not very good," Berube said when asked how Buchnevich felt Wednesday.

Asked about his availability against the Rangers, Berube said, "Probably not."

Buchnevich was put in a vulnerable position when teammate Ivan Barbashev flipped a soft backhand back towards the wall from the corner in the offensive zone. Buchnevich tried to get to the puck but was hit by Watson, who is 6-foot-4, 204 pounds.

"It's a little high for me, I don't make those calls, but to me, it's a head shot, but I don't make those calls," Berube said.

If Buchnevich is out for any extended period of time, the likelihood is that Logan Brown will be inserted into the lineup and it could see the Blues shift focus and search for a scoring forward with the NHL trade deadline approaching on March 21.

Buchnevich is third on the Blues with 46 points, tied for second in goals with 19 and fourth in assists with 27.

* Scandella on cusp of returning -- Defenseman Marco Scandella practiced again on Wednesday and Berube said he could be available for selection against the Rangers.

Scandella has missed the past 11 games with a lower-body injury and has not played since Feb. 8 against the New Jersey Devils.

"I think Scandella's ready to go tomorrow," Berube said. "I don't want to say he's going to be in and then he's not. We'll see tomorrow."

* Perunovich to have wrist surgery -- Blues defenseman Scott Perunovich will have surgery on his left wrist and will be re-evaluated in eight weeks, according to the team, putting his timeline in early May.

Perunovich, who hasn't played at NHL game since Jan. 15 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, recently was in Springfield of the American Hockey League on a conditioning assignment and played in five games. But the Blues placed the rookie on long-term injured reserve.

Perunovich, 23, is scheduled for surgery in New York by Dr. Robert N. Hitchkiss M.D.

The Hibbing, Minn. native played in 19 games for the Blues this season and had six assists; he scored 22 points (three goals, 19 assists) in 17 games for the Thunderbirds this season.

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