ST. LOUIS — A few days after getting forward T.J. Oshie back from a broken ankle, the injury-plagued St. Louis Blues got even more good news.
Blues general manager Doug Armstrong confirmed during Thursday night’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings that forwards Andy McDonald and David Perron have passed the initial baseline tests required by the NHL and NHLPA for returns from concussions.
McDonald, who suffered his concussion Dec. 4 in Edmonton, is significantly further along in his recovery than Perron. McDonald has been cleared to return to the ice and skated on his own before the Blues practiced on Wednesday and Thursday.
Perron is still dealing with symptoms and has been cleared only for light exercise. He’s been out since Nov. 4.
“We turned the corner with Andy,” Armstrong said. “They both passed the initial baseline test by NHL and the NHLPA protocol. Andy has been on the ice the past two days and he’s feeling much better; the symptoms haven’t returned since the skating, so he’s going to ramp it up as he feels he is able to do and we’re just going to go day-by-day.
“David’s situation is a little bit different. He’s not as far along as Andy. Both players have seen secondary doctors and opinions and David still has some symptoms here, but there’s been a desire and some indication that light exercise can be induced to see how that affects him. He’s not nearly to the point that Andy is, but he’ll do some light exercise and see how he feels after that.”
After Oshie returned from a 31-game absence and sparked the Blues to three points in his first two games, the Blues can only hope McDonald can spark the offense even further. He had 17 points – eight goals and nine assists – in just 25 games before going down.
McDonald likely will need to skate several days on his own to rebuild his endurance before joining his teammates at practice. But being cleared to skate was a huge step in his recovery.
“Certainly it’s been frustrating, so it’s good to be back on the ice and doing some exercising and kind of having a normal life again,” McDonald said. “It’s just kind of been a gradual thing, each day you get better. I’ve been following the protocol of the NHL in terms of riding the bike each day and progressing, increasing your time and intensity and then getting back on the ice.
“Right now, it’s just see how I feel each day and like I said, the skates are going to get a little bit tougher and a little bit longer and probably a decision will be made with the training staff and the doctors when they feel and I feel that it’s time to be able to practice with the team.”
Perron was nailed with a blindside hit by the Sharks’ Joe Thornton, who had just come out of the penalty box. He returned later in the game to score the tying goal but hasn’t played since, missing the past 36 games.
The winger had five goals in just 10 games before going down.
“It might sound weird, but that’s probably the toughest thing, not the headaches and all that, it’s not being able to skate every day and be with my teammates,” Perron said. “It’s the first time I’ve dealt with this, and I felt better at the end of November but you realize now that I guess I felt better but I still felt some symptoms and I still do and we’re trying something different right now.
“I don’t want to get into details, but it gets better and we’re trying some light exercise to see if that’s going to help with the symptoms. There have been some studies that show it can help and we’re going forward with that.”
Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo will be out for at least a few weeks after taking a puck to the eye during Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings.