Darren Pang

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Blues’ Perron just keeps finding ways to score, persevere

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Call David Perron the NHL’s answer to Mystique, a scoring shapeshifter who finds a way to produce even when it seems like every break is going against him.

People might not think of Perron when they ponder the most resilient scorers in the NHL, but maybe they should. The 31-year-old is off to a hot start with the St. Louis Blues this season, generating three goals and two assists for five points in four games.

Maybe he might even play well enough to stay a while?

If you want to capture Perron’s zig-zagging NHL path, consider this note from The Athletic’s Scott Burnside in a May article (sub required): Perron has only signed contracts with one NHL team (The Blues), yet he’s played for five NHL teams overall.

Not that long after making a surprisingly quick jump to the NHL after being the 26th pick of the 2007 NHL Draft, Perron saw his early career derailed by concussion issues. Eventually, things really started to get bumpy for him during the summer of 2013, and things only settled down for Perron just recently. Consider this timeline:

  • Exploded with a career-high 28 goals in 2013-14, his first season with the Edmonton Oilers after being involved in a trade that also included Ivan Barbashev.
  • That hot start to his Oilers career may have set expectations too high. In typical Oilers fashion, Perron was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins after a cold start to 2014-15 (Perron’s shooting percentage was at 6.8 before joining the Pens).
  • For whatever reason, Perron never really clicked with Pittsburgh. He was eventually traded to the Anaheim Ducks in 2015-16, which Perron described to Burnside as a rock-bottom moment.
  • Whereas a player with less will and skill might have found a career going down the drain, Perron got back on track. He generated 20 points in his 28 games with the Ducks to close out 2015-16.
  • The Blues came calling again for 2016-17, and the occasionally injury-challenged Perron managed to play all 82 regular-season games. Back to normal, right? Not exactly …
  • The Vegas Golden Knights made Perron their Blues selection during the expansion draft, bringing upheaval to Perron’s career yet again. Despite Perron managing 66 points in just 70 games in 2017-18, the slick stickhandler fell out of favor a bit toward the end of his Vegas stay, including a bumpy postseason.
  • Once again, the Blues signed Perron for 2018-19. He managed an impressive 23 goals and 23 assists for 46 points despite being limited to 57 games played, then scored 16 points in 26 playoff games to help the Blues win their first-ever Stanley Cup.

Blues broadcaster Darren Pang remarked to Burnside that Perron’s course through the league might just be one-of-a-kind.

“It’s actually quite amazing; it’s a unique story,” Pang said in May. “I don’t think you’re ever going to see anything like it again. I really don’t.”

Even Perron’s path to the QMJHL wasn’t exactly a straight line, so maybe he’s simply been accustomed to having to prove himself over and over again?

This isn’t just about a player who’s become an unusually productive journeyman, either. It’s been remarkable to see how versatile Perron is, as he’s been able to adapt to different circumstances, shifting his style to whatever works best for his linemates and teams.

During that wild 2017-18 season with the Golden Knights, Perron was more of a facilitator and playmaker, with 50 of his 66 points in 70 games being assists. When Perron returned to the Blues last season, he ramped up his sniping, managing that impressive 23 goals in just 57 games on a scorching 20.5 shooting percentage. If you prorate that over an 82-game season, that would have meant 32-33 goals for Perron.

It’s all a testament to not just Perron’s skill and Swiss Army Knife scoring, but also tenacity. There were multiple times where he could have sulked and watched his production plummet, yet Perron consistently made lemonade out of professional lemons. It’s pretty inspiring.

Here’s hoping that Perron doesn’t have to endure another career upheaval during Seattle’s expansion draft (a no-trade clause should help), but chances are, Perron would make it work. Maybe his Seattle transformation would involve Perron becoming a shutdown forward?

MORE:
• Pro Hockey Talk’s Stanley Cup picks.
• Your 2019-20 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

‘Mad Men’ star Jon Hamm calls Blues goal, clearly knows his hockey

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As fun as it can be when a celebrity appears on a hockey broadcast, things can often get awkward, at least when said celebrity just isn’t that into the sport. That clearly wasn’t the case with “Mad Men” and “30 Rock” star Jon Hamm, who knows his stuff when it comes to the St. Louis Blues, and revealed as much on Thursday.

The dapper depictor of Don Draper was clad in a Blues hat and Blues scarf during his appearance on Fox Sports Midwest’s telecast of the Blues eventual 4-0 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. As you can see from the video above this post’s headline, Hamm happened to be on hand for a very nice Ivan Barbashev goal, and smoothly transitioned to calling the play alongside Darren Pang and John Kelly.

(Bless Pang, by the way, for working in his “Holy jumpin’.” Panger had to have trademarked that by now, right?)

Hamm also discussed growing up as a Blues fan with his father, as you can hear in this clip.

Good stuff, and again, Hamm seems legit. He’s also leveraged his hockey fandom before, including some funny ads for “Skip the Dishes,” where he makes it clear that he loves the sport. And poutine?

In case you were wondering (I was), here’s a screengrab of Hamm’s “To Do List” from that ad.

Skip the Dishes

Hamm might plan on questioning reality, but there’s little sense questioning his hockey fandom.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

PHT’s Morning Skate: Darren Pang and Georges Laraque have a Twitter fight

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Georges Laraque and Darren Pang are having quite the curious tiff on Twitter all over Wayne Gretzky. Yikes. (@Panger40, @GeorgesLaraque)

David Shoalts takes a look at how the youth is leading the way in scoring so far this year. Attention Claude Giroux and Phil Kessel fans. (Globe And Mail)

Cam Fowler is getting better in his second year in Anaheim. Good thing too, they need it. (OC Register)

Drew Stafford and Derek Roy are finding the net for Buffalo. Sabres evolving is a great thing there. (Buffalo News)

Erik Cole is helping lead the Canadiens out of the basement. That helps that contract look a little less awful. (Sun Media)

Panthers phenom goalie Jacob Markstrom is likely heading back to the AHL thanks to Scott Clemmensen. He’ll be back. (On Frozen Pond)

You can count the Ottawa Senators out of the Kyle Turris sweepstakes. (Ottawa Sun)

Are there new line combos ahead for the Kings? Could be… (L.A. Kings Insider)

Dion Phaneuf is finally the leader the Leafs have been hoping for. (Sportsnet)

Finally, looking for save of the night? Tampa Bay’s Dwayne Roloson doesn’t look 42 years-old stopping Florida’s Stephen Weiss. (NHL)

Video: What they’re saying after Boston’s 4-0 win in Game 4 over Vancouver

Boston’s 4-0 Game 4 win over Vancouver has helped provide us with a wealth of story lines for Game 5 coming up on Friday. From Roberto Luongo’s stunningly poor play while in Boston allowing 12 goals in two games, to Boston’s stunning turn of events to shift the momentum of the series back in their favor before hitting the road.

Versus’ Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick talked after the game as to whether or not Roberto Luongo should get the start in Game 5. After all, the last time we saw Luongo play this poorly it was in the first round against Chicago in Games 4 and 5 leading to Luongo getting the night off in Game 6 of their series. Jones and Roenick say you’ve got to stick with the one who brought you.

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While Luongo had his troubles, so did Keith Ballard in his efforts to replace Aaron Rome. Ballard had one brutal turnover that became a goal by Brad Marchand and struggled all around with his game. Those struggles have turned the tide for the Bruins as they’ve now got themselves back in the series completely and part of that is thanks to Rich Peverley shining on the top line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Bill Patrick, Keith Jones, and Jeremy Roenick broke down each of their performances.

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After the game, Brad Marchand spoke with Versus’ Darren Pang about the confidence the team had heading into Game 4 and how that’s paid off for them.

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Sharks hold serve, beat Red Wings 2-1 to take 2-0 series lead

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We’ve made a lot out of road teams doing their part to upset the order of things in the playoffs by winning games in an alarming number but the San Jose Sharks did their part to uphold order in the second round. The Sharks held down home ice taking the first two games of the series after pulling off a 2-1 win over the Red Wings this afternoon.

The game headed into the third period with the Sharks holding down a 1-0 lead but it would be a sneaky shot from defenseman Niclas Wallin 1:39 into the third that would handcuff Jimmy Howard and end up in the net to give San Jose a 2-0 lead. That second goal turned out to be a big one for the Sharks as Henrik Zetterberg would snipe a power play goal with 6:02 to play in the third that would cut the lead to 2-1. From there, Antti Niemi would make it all stand up stopping 33 shots in the game on the way to the win.

For San Jose the key here was holding down home ice. That said, there’s encouraging things for them heading into Game 3 in that their defensive game plan is working perfectly. They’re pressuring Detroit at all times and making life for the Red Wings very uncomfortable in the offensive zone. Turnovers, bad shots, poor chances are  the rule of the day for Detroit while San Jose is rolling like this.

Detroit will need to find a way to push the flow of play back on San Jose. They showed spurts of that late in this game but overall they’ve been taken to school by the Sharks. If Detroit’s not able to turn things around in Game 3, a repeat of last year’s five game exit from the playoffs at the hands of San Jose could be in order.

Here are the highlights from today’s game.

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After the game, Darren Pang spoke with Sharks captain Joe Thornton about the win.

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In the postgame recap, Dave Strader and Joe Micheletti talk about how the Sharks win a “nasty” game

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