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Perry Just Keeps Getting Better

Sunday, 05.10.2009 / 2:19 PM / Features
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Perry Just Keeps Getting Better
At 23, Anaheim\'s Corey Perry is one of the NHL\'s emerging talents. The scary part for opponents is that he\'s still getting better.
Here's the scary part for the 29 NHL teams that have to try to stop with Anaheim's Corey Perry: He's two weeks away from his 24th birthday, plays on one of the NHL's most potent lines, already owns a Stanley Cup ring -- and he's still getting better.

At 6-3 and 209 pounds, Perry has the size to run over people. He also has the skill to have posted career-highs in goals (32), assists (40), points (72) and game-winning goals (8) in 2008-09, teaming with linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan to power the Anaheim Ducks' run to the playoffs. Perry finished the season with points in eight of his last nine games (8 goals, 5 assists, 13 points) and had 11 goals in Anaheim's last 19 games.

The Peterborough, Ontario, native has continued to produce in the postseason with 6 goals and 4 assists in 10 games, including a four-game goal-scoring streak. He has 3 goals and 3 assists in the first four games of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Detroit Red Wings.

Suffice it to say he's made an impression on his opponents.

"From the top of the circle down, the way he hangs on to the puck and the way he cycles, he is a premier player," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "He's scored his whole life. He's just getting better and better."

Defenseman Chris Pronger has watched Perry evolve into the rare combination of prime-time agitator and elite goal-scorer.

"He plays with a lot of emotion," Pronger said. "He plays physical. He plays with an edge. He goes to the dirty areas. He scores in the paint. In fact, if there's a scoring chance anywhere around the net, Corey's going to be there."

Agitator? Trash talker?

"It keeps me in the game and keeps me focused," Perry said. "When you find somebody who doesn't like being talked to it gets them off their game and, hopefully, helps your team."

In one of those if words could kill situations, Perry was miked during a game early in the 2007 Western Conference Finals and was caught jabbering away at Detroit's Mikael Samuelsson while waiting for a faceoff.

"You're going to get yours," Perry said. "And tell your friend Zetterberg, he's going to get his, too."

Most opponents know Perry for being mouthy and confrontational in games -- but he is painfully quiet everywhere else.

"I'm a shy guy," Perry said. "It's just a switch that flips on as soon as I put my equipment on and my blades touch the ice. I'm a different person. I think it comes from me wanting to win so bad that I get in a game and -— I don't know -— maybe my emotions take over."

Said Samuelsson, "I remember him saying it, but I didn't think anything of it at the time. Players are always saying things, trying to get under your skin. But when I got home from that game, some friends were asking about it. They said it was on YouTube already. Amazing, isn't it? Anything else about that ... no comment."

Corey Perry Highlights
Brash. Opinionated. Tough as nails. But Perry admits he has to pinch himself once in a while to see if all his good fortune is real. The former London Knights center is a Memorial Cup winner, world junior champion and Stanley Cup winner.

He'll do anything it takes to get the job done ... whether that means getting in anyone's face with his hard-driving, gritty style of play. But he knows better than to start a fight without good reason. His dad, Geoff, a policeman for the Ontario Provincial Police, wouldn't permit such conduct in their home.

Perry's dream actually goes back a little further. He remembers sitting in front of a TV watching hockey with a mini-stick in his hand when he was only 3. He turned to his mom, Nancy, and said, "One day I'm going to play for you on TV, mom."

His dream went one big step better when the Ducks beat Ottawa in 2007 to win the Stanley Cup.

"When that buzzer went off at the end of Game 5, there was no greater feeling than throwing my gloves in the air knowing I was going to get a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup over my head," Perry said in preparation for Game 5 Sunday in Detroit. "The world juniors and Memorial Cup in the same year and then two years later a Stanley Cup. It's everything I thought it would be and more. But the competitor in you wants to win it again ... and that's what's on our minds right now.

"It's all about working hard to achieve your goals. I grew up listening to my dad tell me to never go onto the ice and not play all-out. That thought still pops into my mind often. My goal is to be the best player I can at all times."

Geoff Perry coached Corey until he was 8, a year when he scored 205 goals in 60 games and was moved up to play with 10- and 11-year-olds the following season. If Geoff's words of desire and dedication weren't enough, Corey heard the same mantra in London, where former NHL power forwards Dale and Mark Hunter run the team there and never let a kid get through their organization without teaching them how hard they have to work to accomplish anything in life.

"I remember Dale Hunter telling me that Corey was about 160 pounds when he arrived in London," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle told me. "Dale said you can always ask for more from Corey and he'll always deliver for you."

Perry is like a rink rat. He's done whatever it took to develop into an NHLer. There's no fear in his game. Corey is one of those rare offensive talents who can score goals when seemingly no opening exists. He has developed the power of a linebacker along with the touch of a safecracker.

He added security last summer, when he signed a five-year, $26.63 million deal. But there's no worry that Perry will relax -- not when you ask him about the promise he made to his mother so close to Mother's Day.

"It finally came true," he said. "Now, hopefully, I can make another dream come true."

Author: Larry Wigge | Columnist




1 ANA 47 31 10 6 139 124 68
2 NSH 45 30 10 5 137 104 65
3 STL 46 29 13 4 148 111 62
4 CHI 47 30 15 2 148 108 62
5 WPG 48 26 14 8 135 117 60
6 SJS 48 25 17 6 131 132 56
7 VAN 45 26 16 3 124 114 55
8 CGY 47 25 19 3 136 125 53
9 LAK 47 20 15 12 129 126 52
10 COL 48 20 18 10 125 137 50
11 DAL 46 21 18 7 144 151 49
12 MIN 46 20 20 6 128 137 46
13 ARI 46 16 25 5 105 156 37
14 EDM 47 12 26 9 109 158 33


R. Getzlaf 46 15 35 12 50
C. Perry 32 19 12 15 31
R. Kesler 47 13 17 -2 30
S. Vatanen 47 10 19 3 29
M. Beleskey 46 17 7 12 24
C. Fowler 46 5 18 4 23
P. Maroon 39 4 18 1 22
H. Lindholm 46 5 14 13 19
J. Silfverberg 47 6 12 2 18
D. Smith-Pelly 41 4 11 5 15
J. Gibson 2 2 0 .927 2.28
F. Andersen 26 6 5 .917 2.30 is the official Web site of the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim Ducks and are trademarks of Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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