Earlier this summer, the Blues lost Marco Scandella to a hip injury for at least six months. This led to speculation as to if his absence could create a window of opportunity for Scott Perunovich to become a more permanent defensive fixture on the team. The log-jam of defensemen had become, at least for now, a more manageable six regulars and a seventh.
Unfortunately for Perunovich, he was injured last night on a hit by Michal Teply, catching his wrist at an awkward angle between Teply and the glass. He left during the first period and did not return to play.
Post-game, coach Craig Berube did not seem particularly hopeful about a timetable for Perunovich’s return:
“You feel bad for him,” Berube said. “He’s had a tough go with injuries. He worked hard all summer and was ready to come in and prove himself. It’s an unfortunate thing.
“We’ll see how it is tomorrow. He didn’t look good when he was coming off.”
Perunovich missed time late last season with a wrist injury that required surgery. He returned in time to contribute to the Blues’ brief playoff run, and it was hopeful that he would continue his successful play and growth through this season while working toward holding on to a roster spot.
Perunovich has impressed in his time with the Blues, and the expectation this year was for him to stick, especially with the window opened by Scandella’s injury. He was relied on in Saturday’s win over the Arizona Coyotes to head up the first power play unit, and that opportunity should’ve been beefed up throughout the evening last night. The Blues’ power play, which finished second overall in the league in effectiveness last season, still ran roughshod over the Blackhawks by virtue of the strong veteran presence. The Hawks iced a young team last night, so it’s tough to truly evaluate what the loss of Perunovich means short term.
Hopefully evaluating his absence long-term won’t be an issue.