While a lot of focus this off-season has been put on whether or not Sidney Crosby will return from his concussion, we forget that there is another talented youngster who has been sidelined since last November due to concussion symptoms. David Perron was on the receiving end of a blindside hit from Joe Thornton on November 4th, which caused the concussion. Perron continued the game, even contributing a goal in the Blues 2-0 victory, but missed the following 72 games of the season.
On August 3rd, St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong announced that Perron would not only miss training camp, but the start of the 2011-12 regular season as well, due to his ongoing concussion symptoms. He has made improvements, however, which is a great sign with something as serious as a concussion. The talented young winger “took a big jump a few months ago,” Armstrong said of his progress.
David Perron was expected to take on a large role with the Blues last season, after netting 20 goals and adding 20 assists in the 2009-10 season. In the 10 games Perron did play last season, he posted seven points on five goals and two assists. Expectations for him will be just as high once he returns to action. However, the Blues took some action this off-season by adding Jason Arnott, Jamie Langenbrunner, and Jonathan Cheechoo to the line-up.
While Blues fans continue to patiently wait for Perron to make his return, Bruins and Penguins fans do the same with Marc Savard and Sidney Crosby, respectively. Savard is still experiencing concussion symptoms from separate hits by Matt Cooke and Matt Hunwick. Crosby, on the other hand, has returned to the ice to skate and train by himself, but has not been cleared for contact drills.
The seriousness of these long term concussion injuries really brings to focus, once again, the extent of punishment for blindside hits to the head. Should the hitter sit just as long as the injured player, or is a shorter suspension more appropriate? Companies such as Reebok can enhance the levels of head protection like they did with their new Reebok 11k helmet, but when someone takes advantage of you with an unnecessary hit to the head, there’s only so much even the best helmets in the game can do.