It’s almost hard to believe that Corey Perry
is in the middle of his fifth season with the Ducks, but that’s probably because he seems to still be improving his already-imposing game.
While the Ducks have been up-and-down the past couple of weeks, Perry has never been better, tallying six goals in the last four contests. In the season’s first 13 games, he’s already got 10 goals and 17 points, a fast start that he’s grown accustomed to the past couple of years.
Perry stormed out the gate in 2007-08 with 26 goals in the first half of the season and was rewarded with his first All-Star appearance in Atlanta. A thigh laceration limited the second portion of that year, but he still finished with the team lead in goal for the first time with 29.
|“He’s got a lot of skill and he’s a dangerous player out there,” said Crosby of Perry (left). “I was lucky enough to play with him at World Juniors. He’s making a strong case for the Olympic team. He deserves all the credit he gets because he’s a great player.” |
Last season, the first-line forward surpassed the 30-goal mark for the first time, leading the team for the second straight year with 32 while also setting new personal bests with 40 assists and 72 points.
As he continues to make his way among the elite scorers in the game, could his first trip to the Olympics with Team Canada be on the horizon come February? One league superstar, who figures to be a shoo-in for the roster, seems to think so.
“He’s got a lot of skill and he’s a dangerous player out there,” said Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby of Perry. “I was lucky enough to play with him at World Juniors (in 2005 on a team that also included Ryan Getzlaf
and won a gold medal). He’s making a strong case for the Olympic team. He deserves all the credit he gets because he’s a great player.”
Crosby uttered those words following last night’s 4-3 Ducks loss to the Penguins, where Perry continued his torrid stretch with two more goals in a career-high four-game goal streak.
“It’s nice when somebody else will say that,” said Perry of Crosby’s remarks. “He is one of the elite players in this league and one of the faces of the league. When somebody does say that, it keeps your hope up.”
|“Corey has been pretty consistent," Carlyle said. "He’s earns his ice time in the tough areas of the rink. He’s got a knack to get inside on people. We’d like to see him continue to do that and we’d like some more people to follow his lead.” |
Perry is certainly on the radar of Steve Yzerman, Team Canada’s Executive Director, who will name his team by December 31. The former Detroit Red Wings great invited Perry and 45 other potential candidates (including Ducks teammates Getzlaf and Scott Niedermayer) to the Orientation Camp held at Pengrowth Saddledome in late August.
In order to get ready for that, the 24-year-old got an early start on his offseason workouts and preparation. The results are clearly visible through the first month of the season, as Perry leads the team in goals (also sixth in the league) and points (11th in the league).
“He’s put himself in the best position from his work and commitment in the offseason,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “Corey has been pretty consistent. He’s earns his ice time in the tough areas of the rink. He’s got a knack to get inside on people. We’d like to see him continue to do that and we’d like some more people to follow his lead.”
He aided the Ducks last night in a hard-fought battle with the defending Stanley Cup champions. Just 3:57 into the contest, Perry grabbed a Niedermayer rebound in the slot, turning and slinging a shot past Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury.
The goal helped Anaheim curb previously sluggish starts by putting them on the scoreboard first, and it was also the 100th time Perry had lit an NHL lamp in his career. “It’s pretty nice to have,” said the winger, who punched in No. 101 later in the second period. “When you’re in this league just a short amount of time and can get that, it’s something special. It’s something that I’ll never forget.”
|“I’m trying to have a strong first half,” said Perry (at Canada's Orientation Camp in August). “Being prepared in the summer has helped. There are some big things that could happen this year. Everybody is playing to make that Olympic team and I’m just trying to help the team here too.” |
While the Ducks would ultimately fall to the Penguins, it was a game they continued to show improvement in after earning three of a possible four points in their previous two games before last night. Anaheim had multiple chances down the stretch to tie the game, spending well over two minutes in Pittsburgh’s zone at one point that included Niedermayer’s shot being saved by a sprawled-out Crosby in the net.
“Things are being turned around,” said Perry, who also has a six-game point streak going. “Last night, we played well. The last 10 minutes, we were in their zone, playing well and creating chances. If we keep doing that, something is bound to bounce in.”
The 6-3, 206-pounder will look to continue his hot play tomorrow night against the Predators at Honda Center (where the Ducks are 16-1-3 all-time against Nashville). The longer he keeps it up, the more likely it seems he’ll be making plans for Vancouver in the middle of February.
“I’m trying to have a strong first half,” Perry said. “Being prepared in the summer has helped. There are some big things that could happen this year. Everybody is playing to make that Olympic team and I’m just trying to help the team here too.”