"I like to lead by example, but I like to talk in the dressing room, too. I’m not the guy who just sits there. I like to mix things up. I take pride in it."
-- Corey Perry
Perry's willingness to play down low, near the opposition's goal posts and in front of the crease, has enhanced his reputation as a player who plays on the edge while scoring buckets of goals.
"It's part of my game, going to the net and taking a bit of a beating if I have to," Perry said. "Somebody's got to do it. I guess that I'll be that guy."
"He'll go into all the dirty, tough areas to score goals," Ducks GM Bob Murray told NHL.com. "He's not afraid. That's something you can't teach."
Perry's ascent to the league's elite includes his current league-leading 19-game point streak (10-16-24), tying the League's longest since Sidney Crosby's run two seasons ago. His productivity has been on a steady rise, with 13, 17, 29, and 32 goals in his first four seasons. At present, he is on pace for a career-high 44 goals and 104 points. Perry's shot totals have followed suit, rising from 194 during his sophomore season to 283 in 2008-09, and could easily top 300 by season's end.
Linemate Bobby Ryan says that Perry's annual improvement is not hard to explain.
"Corey puts in the time over the summer," Ryan said. "The more success he has, the harder he seems to work, the more he puts his mind to things. It's pretty impressive."
Perry says that his confidence level has increased during the course of his career.
"I'm more comfortable, more confident in the game," Perry says. "If you can hold on to the puck just a bit longer (than previously), you might just throw one in."
Raising the stakes for the line of Perry, Ryan and center Ryan Getzlaf is the fact the 2009-10 Ducks have thus far not employed the services of a dedicated checking line. Virtually every night, the Ducks' top trio faces the opposition's best offensive players.
"Power against power," Perry says. "It's whoever has the puck the most in the offensive zone. We take pride in defense on our line. If we're strong defensively, our offensive game's going to come. We're a line that likes to cycle the puck and play in the offensive zone, control it and take it to the net, so when we have the puck, their top line isn't going to score against us."
Despite the fact that Perry has been consistently productive, the Ducks struggled out of the gate, recording just three wins during this season's first ten games. The team bounced back recently with a 4-2-1 home stand, hoping to avoid last year's fate, when it took a major push just to finish eighth.
"Last year, we had to play playoff hockey the last two months of the regular season to get into the playoffs," Perry remembers. "We were in the hole right from the get-go."
Since the Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007, Perry and Getzlaf have vaulted into leadership roles.
"We wanted to be leaders," says the 24-year-old. "I like to lead by example, but I like to talk in the dressing room, too. I'm not the guy who just sits there. I like to mix things up. I take pride in it."
Coach Randy Carlyle has called on Perry regularly to kill penalties for the first time this season. Perry now plays an average of 21:36 per game, a career high, and good for sixth in the League among forwards (linemate Getzlaf is first at 22:47).
Perry guesses that that his last foray into penalty killing was during his junior days with the London Knights (OHL).
It is impossible to discuss Perry without mentioning his brother-in-arms, Getzlaf (5-25-30). The pair were both first-round picks (Getzlaf 19th, Perry 28th, 2003) and entered the NHL together as rookies during the 2005-06 season.
"We came in together and pretty much have done everything together," Perry says, noting that the two are good friends off the ice. "There aren't too many games where we're not playing together and that's added to the chemistry. You get to know in the back of your mind where (Getzlaf) is going to be at certain points in the game."
The native of Peterborough, Ontario attended the Canadian Olympic evaluation camp over the summer.
"It would be an honor," says Perry of his potential inclusion. "You grow up wanting to play for your country. If it happens, it'll be something that I'll never forget."
As a youngster, he idolized Mario Lemieux and Joe Sakic.
"Mario (Lemieux) with his skill, vision, hands and shot," says Perry. "(Joe) Sakic because he's a leader. That's who I wanted to be, a combination of those two guys."
Perry's willingness to take the bumps and bruises that come with playing near the opposition's crease and scoring gritty goals would conceivably be welcome in a high-stakes Olympic setting.
"I think it's both skills and grit," says Carlyle of what makes Perry special. "He's a slippery guy around the net who can score. He makes a living in the crease and in, around and behind the net. He's one of those guys who can come out and put the puck into a lot of areas that other people can't."