Coach Craig Perrob did not receive an update on injured defender Scott Peronovich on Thursday.
Still looking at him, Beerup said. “I can’t really give you any information about her at this time.”
In this case, these numbers will be more than just a modern coach. Because when Perunovic initially suffered an injury to his left wrist last season, which later required surgery, it took some time for doctors to focus on what was really going on in the wrist.
Nothing’s official, but it looks like Perunovic re-injured his wrist the way he reacted after pushing Chicago’s Michael Tepley onto the boards in Tuesday’s game against the Black Hawks.
When talking about Perunovic’s off-season commitment to getting a job on opening day, Birubi’s comments were revealing.
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“(Pironovic) has worked hard this summer coming in to be a regular player – find a place. Now he has to wait,” said Birobi.
“Now he has to wait.”
So although the nature and severity of the injury may not be known, it is clear that Pironovic will be out for a while.
After Nick Lady’s re-signing in July, there was a common refrain: What would the Blues do with the eight defenders on the roster?
Well, those eight quickly shrank to six with the regular season still more than two weeks away. An off-season training injury led to a hip surgery that would sideline Marco Scandella at least until March. And now Perunovich.
This pretty much removes any mystery about the defenseman’s third pairing on opening day. I’m Nico Miccola and Robert Portozzo.
“Size. Tenacity. ‘Durability’ is what this pairing brings.” Guys who are hard to play against on a consistent basis. They’re going to do all that dirty work.”
The top four in defense were decided mainly from the start of camp, with Lady Colton Paraiko and Tori Krug Justin Falk forming the first pair.
But without Scandella and presumably Perunovic, the question remains: Who is the next man?
Logic firmly says Kaley Rosen, who played 18 regular season games and nine postseason games for the Blues. Another option could be Stephen Santini, who has played three regular season and three playoff games for the Blues over the past two seasons together.
For now, Berube is casting a wider net in deciding on the seventh or eighth man.
“The training camp is still going on, so there are players who are going to have to perform at a high enough level that we feel they are capable enough of getting a place,” said Birubi. “Or to be one of the guys in the group here. It’s still too early for that.”
Birubi made it clear that Rosen and Santini are not the only contenders for last place (or spots) in defence. Youngsters Tyler Tucker and Matthew Kessel are also in the mix.
“I really liked Tucker’s last game (against Chicago),” said Birubi. “I thought he was engaged. Ours was down to five points – he was there a lot and he played a lot.
“The thing about Tucker with me is that we all know he’s a huge bodied guy, but I thought he did a good job when he got his pucks, skating on them right away and moving the disc. That’s what stood out for me.”
Tucker, 22, was a seventh-round pick in 2018 and was the Blues’ captain of the year in Traverse City, Michigan, for the NHL Prospect. He has two years of AHL seasoning, despite COVID restrictions that limited his 2020-21 campaign to just 27 games.
Kessel, 22, turned pro last spring after completing his third season of college hockey in Massachusetts. He then managed to press in 33 regular season and postseason games with the Springfield Thunderbirds.
Clem Costin provided an assist in Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Chicago, but the previous first-round pick is far from being on the opening day’s roster.
“He has to do more,” Beerup said Thursday morning. “He has to show us a little more. He has to be more involved in the games. I don’t see enough yet.”
Alexei Turobchenko, one of the players who could take a place on Kostin’s squad, is getting closer to getting ready for the game after off-season shoulder surgery. He was pushed to the boards by assistant coach Steve Ott during Thursday’s training by the group not involved in the game. It was an exercise in getting Toropchenko to call again.
Toropchenko was also involved in 5 on 5 action and did some scrambling in traffic.