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David Perron still recovering from concussions related to Joe Thornton hit

One of the most widely debated suspensions of the 2010-11 season came after San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton leveled St. Louis Blues forward David Perron right as Thornton was leaving the penalty box. Thornton received a two game suspension for the hit, with many parties wondering if he really deserved it.

Well, if you base your suspension logic largely on how much time the victim of a hit misses, then maybe a two game suspension was reasonably fair. (For the record, I think it’s silly to set punishment based on injury term since that’s a matter of blind luck, but that’s a whole other can of worms.)

Perron has been out of action since that November 4th game with concussion symptoms. He’s missed 12 games during that recovery period already, and while he isn’t ready to return to NHL action yet, Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that he is making some progress. (Albeit slow progress.)

It’s not the progress Perron was hoping to see 23 days after he was hit by San Jose’s Joe Thornton, leveling him to the ice, but the left winger says it’s progress. Two weeks after the hit, he experienced headaches by simply driving a car. Video games, too, made him dizzy.

But Perron said Saturday that he’s “close” to being symptom-free. When he is, he’ll undergo testing and then resume light skating until he feels OK to return to practice.

“It’s getting better,” said Perron, who had five goals and two assists in 10 games before the injury. “A little headache, not much of it, but we’re looking to be symptom-free. The last four or five days, it’s been staying the same in terms of the headache, but everything in terms of dizziness, I haven’t felt anything lately.

“It’s been kind of frustrating and disappointing that it’s been this slow. But at the same time, I’m still positive and getting my rest and I hope to come back soon. The good thing is, it’s getting better.”

So as with most recent bouts with post-concussion syndrome, the Blues and Perron are being careful about monitoring his progress. It’s still a mysterious injury to deal with, but sports teams have come a long way from coaches telling players to “rub some dirt on it” after they “got their bell rung.”

If you want to take another look at that hit to see if Thornton really deserved a penalty, here is video footage of that check.

WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry (Flyers-Islanders; Blackhawks-Sharks)

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You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.

Here are the handy links for the two contests.

First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.


After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.


Braun out with upper-body injury; Zubrus to make Sharks debut

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The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.

Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.

“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”

Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.

Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.

Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.

Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer

Johansen calls trade rumblings ‘weird,’ says relationship with Torts is ‘great’

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One day after reports surfaced of Ryan Johansen being at the center of trade talks, all parties involved from Columbus did what they’re supposed to do — downplay the situation.

You can read the denials in full over at the Dispatch, but here’s the gist:

— Johansen said the rumors were “weird” and that he’s “never seen it before.” He also said there were no issues between him and head coach John Tortorella, calling the relationship “great.”

— GM Jarmo Kekalainen wouldn’t address the report, nor would Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.

— Johansen added he hasn’t spoken to any of Columbus’ management about the trade rumblings.

So there’s that. What’s next?

At this stage of the game, it’s hard not to think about another Overhardt client, Kyle Turris.

Turris, you’ll recall, spent four (mostly) stormy years with the Coyotes before his trade out to Ottawa was orchestrated. Turris eventually told GM Don Maloney “this is not going to work out” with the club, and he was gone.

So, consider the similarities now:

— Turris was 22 at the time of the trade, with four years and 137 games under his belt.

— Johansen is 23, with five years and 291 games.

— Both had contentious contract holdouts with their respective clubs.

— Both are Overhardt guys.

— The Turris trade happened after the Coyotes went from Wayne Gretzky to Dave Tippett as head coach.

— Johansen is already on his third head coach (Scott Arniel, Todd Richards, Tortorella).

For now, these are all coincidences (or a forced narrative, depending what you think of the author).

And, of course, the one big — big — difference between the two is that, at the time of his trade, Turris wasn’t as good or established a player as Johansen currently is. Therefore, logic suggests any Johansen trade would be a lot more blockbuster-y and, therefore, probably more complex.

And as we know, complex deals aren’t easy to pull off.

Flyers’ Gagner to miss another week after Malone hit

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The nasty blow Sam Gagner took in Monday’s game against Carolina will keep him on the shelf for a little bit.

On Wednesday, Flyers GM Ron Hextall said the club expected Gagner to be out around a week with injuries suffered on the hit, delivered by ‘Canes forward Brad Malone (per the Inquirer).

Gagner suffered a fairly significant facial laceration, which forced him from the game entirely. He didn’t practice on Tuesday and, in a corresponding move, the Flyers called up Colin McDonald from the AHL to fill Gagner’s spot on the roster.

This is the second facial injury Gagner’s suffered in recent years. He’d previously had his jaw broken by an errant Zack Kassian high stick, while he was with the Oilers and Kassian the Canucks.

Prior to getting hurt, Gagner had two goals and five points in 18 games, averaging just under 12 minutes per night.