|"There is obviously added pressure when you get a contract like that," Perry said. "You got to go out there, get in game shape right away, put up points early and don't stop." |
The focal point of the Ducks’ offseason plans, Corey Perry emerged at Anaheim Ice on Thursday for the first since signing a lucrative five-year contract with the club.
Perry joined several Ducks teammates, including Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Kunitz and Scott Niedermayer among others, at the practice facility, his first time on the ice since returning to Orange County on Wednesday. Perry understands there will be heightened expectations on his play entering the new season, a challenge he is ready to take on.
“There is obviously added pressure when you get a contract like that,” Perry said. “You’re expected to produce. That’s what you got to do. You got to go out there, get in game shape right away, put up points early and don’t stop.”
Enjoying a breakout season in 2007-08, the 23-year-old right winger led the Ducks with 29 goals (despite missing the last six weeks of the regular season with an injury) and was named an All-Star for the first time in his career. As such, Perry entered free agency in the offseason as a hot commodity.
He wouldn’t last long on the open market. The Ducks re-signed Perry minutes after the free agency period began on July 1. While many fans couldn’t bear to think of Perry in a uniform other than the Ducks’, neither could the Peterborough, Ontario native.
“This is where I wanted to be and wanted to stay,” Perry said Thursday. “I think they knew that going into the negotiation. It’s a great organization and it was nice to get it done as quickly as we did.”
Besides getting a new contract under order in the offseason, Perry also took the time to fully rehabilitate the injury that marred the ending to his season last year. Suffering a right quadriceps tendon laceration via the skate of former Colorado goaltender Jose Theodore on March 6, Perry missed the final 12 regular season games and the first three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against Dallas. While he returned and played effectively (two goals and an assist) in the final three games of that series, Perry said it wasn’t until the summer that his leg became completely healthy.
|"It was a long offseason, but I got the leg back in order," Perry said. It was July before it finally came around." |
“It was a long offseason, but I got the leg back in order,” Perry said. “It was July before it finally came around. It was through the therapy and all the little things that you have to do.”
More than getting back on the ice, Perry said he enjoyed getting back to seeing some familiar faces.
“I haven’t seen too many of my teammates all summer,” Perry said. “It’s good to be back.”
Heavily disappointed with the way last season ended for the Ducks, Perry feels the team has something to prove with a fresh slate ahead. With many players already skating together, he likes what he sees.
“Everybody is that much eager to get back into training camp and into the games,” Perry said. “Everybody is hungry and you can just tell by how many guys are here already a week before camp. It’s going to be a fun year for us."