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At the Rink blog

Perron, Thornton to meet for first time since hit

Saturday, 12.10.2011 / 2:32 PM

By Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

ST. LOUIS -- They haven't seen one another in more than 13 months, but for the St. Louis wing David Perron and San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton, it'll be time to once and for all put "the hit" to rest.

The Blues (16-9-3) and Sharks (15-9-1) square off for the second time this season at 7 p.m. today at Scottrade Center (FSN, KMOX 1120-AM) but it will be the first time Perron will face the Sharks since suffering a concussion from a hit by Thornton near center ice.

Thornton was coming out of the penalty box and delivered a crushing blow that would eventually knock Perron out for more than a year. But Thornton said he's glad to see Perron back in the game.

"Obviously, you don't want to hurt anybody," Thornton said Saturday morning. "It's unfortunate he's been out for so long, but to see him back playing put a smile on my face. For him to score in his first game back was exciting as well. To have him back, it's nice. I wish him all the health in the world now."

Perron reflected on the incident Friday.

"Coming out of the box, he was probably so frustrated from that previous penalty, he wanted to get his game going, get physical and he saw that I was there," Perron said of Thornton. "To say it's disappointing that he didn't contact me after, it's tough to say. I moved on pretty quickly after that.

"I'm a pretty forgiving person. I forgave him pretty much right away. We all make mistakes in our lives. Sometimes it's bigger than others. I can move on from that and hopefully he can learn something about it."

Thornton was suspended two games at the time for his first such offense.

"I know Joe well and that's not his intention at all," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "It was kind of an unfortunate thing. For me, I think everybody's gone past it. Joe's not that type of player, doesn't even think that way and I'm sure he felt as bad as ... I don't think anybody thought it would be what it was, but I'm sure he felt as bad as anybody did.

"For David's sake, he's come back, he feels good and you hope it stays that way. You don't want to see any setbacks from where he's at, and I'm sure Joe feels the same way."

Upon his return last week against Chicago, Perron did receive a text message from Thornton wishing him luck and glad that Perron was back healthy again.

"I didn't really expect anything, but it's nice to get that one," Perron said. "I think he's a pretty classy guy from what I know of him. I met him at the All-Star Game in Atlanta. He's just a nice guy. I'm sure he'll be happy to get that one out of the way, too."

Perron was asked if he expected anything from Thornton when the two are on the ice and there's a stoppage in action.

"I think he'll be pretty respectful," Perron said of Thornton. "He knows what he did and I think he'll be pretty respectful and so will his teammates."

Thornton said he would say something.

"Absolutely. Yeah, or even after the game," he said. "We'll have some contact, but that's between me and him."

For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory