|"When I got home from Germany, sat down and relaxed, that is when I got tired," Perry said. "It was a long year and I played a lot of hockey. It could have been longer if we were in the playoffs. Just playing that many games in a short amount of time and at that intensity level, it definitely does a lot of wear and tear on your body." |
Over a 246-day span from September 2009 to May 2010, Corey Perry
became quite familiar with the idea of no rest for the weary.
The Ducks right winger played in a total of 102 hockey games during that time, which included six preseason, 82 regular season (the only Anaheim player to appear in every game), seven Olympic and seven World Championship games. Over the stretch, he added an Olympic gold medal to his growing list of accomplishments that already includes a Stanley Cup and a Memorial Cup. And he’s just 25 years old.
When he returned home to London, Ontario following the World Championships in Germany, Perry finally began to feel the rigors of the tremendous workload, and he was able to get some much-needed rest in the past couple of months. The team’s leading point-producer in 2009-10 took a few minutes on Thursday morning to talk about his time away from Anaheim. How has the offseason been for you so far?
It’s been pretty quiet back here in London. I’m doing some charity stuff with my golf tournament [Corey Perry
A Round for a Cure, which benefits Wellspring London, a non-profit walk-in cancer support center, which was held last month in Southwestern Ontario]. That went really well this summer. It was a great turnout. We had 160-170 golfers. We raised a lot of money. It’s a small, little charity, but all that money goes direct to the charity and helps them out. It was very successful. Hopefully, it continues to grow.
Other than that, it’s been pretty quiet, playing golf, training. I had the Olympic ceremony in Edmonton a couple of weeks ago. We got our rings from the Olympics and that was pretty special.What was it like meeting up again with Team Canada at that ceremony?
After the Olympics ended, we sat in the dressing room for a couple of hours and all the sudden a couple of guys were gone. They were on flights going to wherever they had to play the next night. It was pretty quick how it happened. But in Edmonton, we got to reflect on what we did. They had a ceremony at Commonwealth Stadium and then a gala at a hotel/casino. It got everybody back there together. We were only there for a day or two. It was just fun seeing everybody again. When you win a championship, you are going to walk with those guys forever. You were invited to play in the pro-am of the Wayne Gretzky Classic last month, an official Nationwide Tour event. What was the experience like for you?
They called me and asked me if I wanted to play. I wasn’t going to turn that down. You get to play with professionals and see what they do every day, day in and day out, for the whole season. It’s a grind for them. I played with a guy named Martin Piller from Dallas. He’s on target to hopefully get his PGA Tour card. When you get to be there with those guys, to see what they do and talk with them. They have a lot of questions about hockey and I have a lot of questions about golf, just trying to learn some more. It was just a thrill.You ended up winning the celebrity division at the tournament and took home a 2011 Ford Fiesta in the process. Did you think you had a chance of winning heading into the event?
I had no idea what to expect. Honestly, it was a pretty fun. We shot 44-under-par in four days. It was a lot of fun. He tied for 10th individually. All in all it was a great weekend.
Wayne Gretzky said this of you after the golf tournament: “I told Corey that he's got a Stanley Cup and a gold medal and now a new car. We're going out now to buy our lottery tickets. He's a winner. Some guys just know how to win.” What does that mean to you coming from him?
|"You can’t ask for much more, but you always try to do your best and try to win another one," said Perry of his career thus far. "That is the next goal is trying to reach the next one. Hopefully it comes and hopefully it’s the Stanley Cup." |
It’s pretty special, especially coming from a guy who has done everything in his life and what he has accomplished. He’s the greatest player to ever play. Saying something about me like that, it hits home and it’s special. When you get guys like that complimenting you, it says a lot. What kind of toll did playing in the regular season, the Olympics and the World Championships have on your body?
After I got home from Germany [where the World Championships were played], it set in. It didn’t really set in after the season because I continued keeping up my training to go to the World Championships. When I got home from Germany, sat down and relaxed, that is when I got tired. It was a long year and I played a lot of hockey. It could have been longer if we were in the playoffs. Just playing that many games in a short amount of time and at that intensity level, it definitely does a lot of wear and tear on your body.Did you finally give yourself a break from skating?
I touched the ice a couple of times for pickup hockey, but I haven’t gotten into my preparation for camp. I wait until August to do that, so I can get a month under my belt before we go to camp. I have a couple more weeks. I’m just trying to get stronger in the gym.
What were your thoughts on Scott Niedermayer retiring and what was it like to be his teammate for five years?
He is an unbelievable guy. Off the ice, his personality and character, it shows he is a true leader. He did that for our team. He’s a guy that has done a lot in his career. He’s gone on to win a lot of championships, Stanley Cups, Olympics. Everything you can win, he’s won. You look up to that kind of person. When I heard he was retiring, it was bittersweet. He deserved it and he’s moved on. I wish him all the best.At age 25, could you have asked for any more in your career, having won a Memorial Cup, Stanley Cup and Olympic gold medal already?
You can’t ask for much more, but you always try to do your best and try to win another one. That is the next goal is trying to reach the next one. Hopefully it comes and hopefully it’s the Stanley Cup.
How disappointing was it for the team to miss playoffs for the first time in your career last season?
|"I’m happy, but there is always room for improvement," said Perry on his progression after five years in the NHL. "That is what I’m focusing on. You have to come prepared every night and you can’t have those ups, downs and twists. If you’re doing that, you’re going to do something right." |
We know we didn’t have a strong start. We came to that conclusion. It was no surprise to anybody how we started. We’ve done that the last couple of years and it’s shot us right in the foot. We’re scrambling at the end of the year to get in the playoffs and it was a little too late to do that. You have to have a strong start and be prepared right from the get-go. Hopefully, we’re prepared for a strong season right when the puck drops in October. It has to start with that first game.
It’s a long summer when you don’t make the playoffs. Our season was done in the middle of April. When you’re sitting around for five months waiting for the season to start, you get anxious. You want to get back to the grind and try to go out there and win a championship. That is what we’re looking forward to and hopefully everybody is prepared.How much have you been able to keep in touch with your teammates during the offseason?
There are a couple of guys that I do talk to on a regular basis. We chit-chat back and forth, throw a text here and there. We try to keep in contact, but a lot of guys have different things going on at different times, so it’s kind of tough.How do you like the team moving forward into next season?
Signing Saku again and adding Toni Lydman
on defense, we’re moving forward well despite losing Scotty. We’re a team that is re-grouping and trying to shake off that disappointment. We’ll be hungry. Moving forward, I think we’re going to be good. With Saku back, he is a leader in that dressing room. He’s a big part of the puzzle. When he’s around, he just makes that room lively. We need a lot more guys like him. He’s one of those guys that can lead by example.After five seasons in the NHL with the Ducks, are you pleased with your progression in the league?
I’m happy, but there is always room for improvement. That is what I’m focusing on. There were a few tough times during the year where things didn’t go my way and I didn’t play very well. Those are roller coasters you have to get over. You have to come prepared every night and you can’t have those ups, downs and twists. If you’re doing that, you’re going to do something right.