The calendar flips over to March tomorrow, and the Blues closed out February Tuesday night with 12 wins. They’ve done so sans two of their top five scorers, David Perron and top line forward Brayden Schenn. Perron has been out since January 17th with an upper body injury; Schenn has been absent from the lineup since February 19th’s win over the Maple Leafs. The third injured forward, Alexander Steen, has only been out since the 24th.
Sammy Blais was called up as an emergency call-up; he has been returned to San Antonio.
Tomorrow night, the Blues head to Carolina to take on Don Cherry’s favorite team, the Hurricanes. Blais getting sent back to the AHL is more than likely a signal that Steen will be set to return.
Coach Craig Berube have them labeled as day to day, participating in practices but unsure for Friday night. David Perron burst the comeback bubble this morning after practice by saying he wasn’t making the trip. Schenn is still up in the air.
So, if not tomorrow night, when? Saturday sees them return to St. Louis to take on the Stars, so if neither forward is ready for Friday, Saturday seems like quite the stretch. The closest return date is starting to look like it’ll be Wednesday, March 6th against the Anaheim Ducks in Anaheim. That’s the start of a brutal stretch of three games in four days - the Ducks, the Kings the next night, and the Sharks on March 9th. Keep your eyes on who makes the trip. If neither player makes it to sunny California, then it’ll be March 12th. That’ll be nearly two months sans Perron and nearly a month and a half sans Schenn.
But to be honest, it’s not as troubling as it should be. The Blues have looked gassed recently, but much of that has been the flu bug that has decimated the locker room. If Fabbri continues his improved play, and if Zach Sanford keeps up his hard work, it should be fine. Am I saying that I believe that Sanford is a better choice than Schenn right now? Absolutely not. But the Blues’ play without two of their best players is proof of cohesion in the locker room regardless of who is in there. Fans have finally hit the point where they shouldn’t have a panic attack whenever a key player drops, because the team’s capable of stepping up their play to cover for their missing teammate.
In the past, when key players have been injured (see Schwartz, Jaden), the team’s overall play has dropped like a bag of rocks into the Mississippi. Losing Schenn should be deja vu. For right now, it’s not. The team’s finally hit a point where they make or break their own season as a unit.
That’s a good thing.