This is the next in a series of stories ranking the 24 most important players on the 2011-12 St. Louis Blues.
No. 10 David Perron
When he went down for the rest of the season with post-concussion symptoms, David Perron was on pace for a 40-goal season. Granted, he had only played 10 games, but his five goals looked like the start to a breakout season for the then 22-year-old. And then Joe Thornton (goofing looking sonofabitch) had to go and end it with a dirty hit stepping out of the penalty box like a fucking magician. Asshole.
Last season was going to be Perron's coming out party. The league was going to learn how to correctly pronounce his name. Goalies would fear it no matter which pronunciation used. The hockey world was on a silver platter for his taking and then he disappeared.
It has to be scary, scary stuff as a professional athlete to realize you can't jog down the block without getting a pounding headache. Light sensitivity cannot make any sense when your office is a white sheet of ice that reflects those bright lights in the ceiling. Loud noises makes your head hurt; how could you stand to hear the goal horn?
Brain injuries, so they say, are never typical. Each injury is unique, people experience different symptoms. There's no telling when the symptoms will go away. If ever. A guy breaks his leg, the doctor knows how long that takes to heal. The brain refuses to be put on a timetable.
I'm sure I speak for majority of fans when I say it's hard to balance well wishes for Perron the person and Perron the player. Sure we want him to feel better...but we mostly want him to feel better so he can play and put himself at risk again. I'm not saying it's wrong for him to come back, but people who have had a serious concussion are more susceptible to get them again. So if he (or Andy McDonald for that matter) get another concussion down the road, it will only make me more uncomfortable for him.
The announcement that he was rejoining the team wasn't that long ago. It was announced that he passed the baseline test in order to resume training just last week. We have no idea what physical condition he's in or how long it will take for him to be in playing shape. Yet he's ranked here on the cusp of the really essential players on this team. That's because a healthy Perron means an even deeper St. Louis Blues. Competition for a job on the top three lines will be intense as it can be for a team not in the playoffs the last two seasons. Perron gives head coach Davis Payne some interesting line combination possibilities. A healthy Perron equals bonafide scoring depth for this team. That is, if he can come back and be the player we think he is.
No one knows, not even No. 57 with the French-Canadian accent, if Perron will have the stomach to skate into the danger zones on the ice. Will he shy away from contact? Will he charge the net with abandon? He could. Or he could flinch. Mr. Dangles as he's been known on our website can do magical things with the puck on his stick. He's creative, hard-nosed and tough to knock off the puck. At least he was 11 months ago. What will he look like six months form now? The Blues' hopes of getting a decent playoff seeding better hope he looks good.