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Perron Returns After Long Layoff

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues
There's an old adage that good things come to those who wait.

In David Perron's case, the statement couldn't be more true.

After missing 97 games with post-concussion syndrome, Perron returned to the lineup in a 5-2 loss to Chicago on Dec. 3. He scored a goal just 6:41 into the game on his first shot.

"It was a good feeling. It's been awhile," Perron said. "It's a good feeling to score a goal in the NHL, and more so when you miss all that time."

Prior to Saturday, Perron last played on Nov. 4, 2010 vs. San Jose. In that game, he was hit hard at center ice by Sharks' forward Joe Thornton, but he finished the game and scored a goal in the Blues' 2-0 victory.

The next day, Perron felt symptoms of a concussion and was later diagnosed with one. After seeing several doctors and specialists, he went home to Quebec to rest and recover.

He wouldn't rejoin the team until September 2011, when he started off-ice workouts. Several weeks later, he began skating in team practices and was finally cleared for contact three weeks ago.

With no setbacks due to the increased physical activity and after passing all the requirements of the NHL's concussion protocol, Perron told the Blues he was ready to get back in the game.

"It's been a long 13 months. David's been through quite a bit," Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong said Friday. "The one thing that never wavered was his passion to get back on the ice. I saw that over the summer and then when he rejoined our team.

"The hard work that he's put in to put himself in this position has been tremendous."

Perron wasn't eased into the action on Saturday. He got a loud ovation when he was announced in the starting lineup from the sold-out crowd, and he played 19 minutes and 5 seconds on a line with Patrik Berglund and Matt D'Agostini. He played at even strength, he played on the power play, and there wasn't much time for him to think about the butterflies.

"I think anybody that's missed this type of time, it's pretty exciting for the hockey community in general," Ken Hitchcock said prior to Saturday's game. "For me, he's been around so long practicing with us, he just feels like a normal player. The game is going to be good for him, good for the fans, but I think it's good for the game to see good players come back in and play."

Perron's addition brings added firepower to a Blues team that is 8-2-3 since Hitchcock was hired on Nov. 6. Armstrong said in July that a healthy Perron would be similiar to a big free agent signing.

The Blues have charged up the standings with Perron out of the lineup. Now that he's back, the possibilities are endless.

"He's going to really help us. Holy smokes," Hitchcock said. "He's a really good player and he's going to really help this team. About four more like him and we'll be fine."

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