It's been nearly a year since he was able to skate with his teammates, but for the Blues' David Perron
, one small step on Thursday felt like an enormous stride.
"It's definitely something that was good -- to follow the guys on the ice and not have to stay in the gym while they're practicing," Perron said Thursday at the Blues' practice facility at St. Louis Mills. "It's just one step. There's many more to go, but it felt good."
Perron, who's been on injured reserve since suffering a concussion last Nov. 4 against San Jose following a hit from Joe Thornton, has found it tough to get back onto the ice. Persistent post-concussion syndrome has kept the 23-year-old off the ice for the majority of the last 10 months.
Thornton was suspended two games as a result -- but Perron missed the final 72 games last season and the first six this season. He received good news recently from a concussion specialist in Boston and has begun the slow process of getting back onto the ice.
"I skated this morning on my own again. It felt good," said Perron, who had 5 goals and 2 assists in 10 games last season before the injury. "I wanted to try it out with guys moving around me. It was good. It was just one drill. I had the chance to score a goal."
Perron, who has 53 goals and 131 points in 235 career games, was on the ice for 15 to 20 minutes and will monitor his situation along with the Blues' medical training staff.
"I may go back at it before tomorrow's morning skate," Perron said, referring to Friday's pregame skate before the Blues face the Carolina Hurricanes. "We'll see. I'll talk with (head athletic trainer) Ray (Barile) in there and we'll see what we want to do, but that's the plan right now."
There's still a ways to go before Perron is ready to play in a game.
"There's a lot of conditioning, a lot of timing that has to go on," Coach Davis Payne said. "Get him out there in one drill just to have that early feel … he's been doing a lot of stuff on his own. Again, certain things we want to expose the guy to as he continues to get better."
Perron was given the green light and has been doing some light skating and light workouts that have been slowly ramped up. The concussion symptoms have slowly subsided to almost where they do not exist anymore.
"I feel good with that part. There's still a little bit of stuff," Perron said. "The good part is if I keep increasing, it means that I felt good enough to do that and that's basically the positive you have to take out of that."
With the Blues off to a rough start at 2-4-0, Perron's presence put the locker room in a good mood Thursday.
"It's great to see him out there," teammate T.J. Oshie
said. "It's a tough time for the team right now after our road trip, but it put a little smile on our face seeing him out there with the boys."
Perron has been monitoring the progress of the Penguins' Sidney Crosby, who is also sidelined with a concussion but has been skating regularly with his teammates.
"You look at the Crosby situation, he's been practicing for a month and half now with the team and still isn't playing," Perron said. "Who knows how long it's going to take. If it's the same situation, we'll take it day by day. It was good to be on the ice with the guys today, and I think they were happy for me, too, as well."