Corey Perry 62324 practice Tonight bug

SUNRISE, Fla. -- As Edmonton Oilers practice came to an end at Amerant Bank Arena on Sunday, Corey Perry tapped all his teammates with his stick as if he was saying goodbye.

Was this, in fact, the message he was trying to send? Will Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Oilers and Florida Panthers (8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, SN, TVAS, CBC) on Monday be the swan song for the 39-year-old forward, his farewell to an illustrious career?

“No way. I have more left in me. I have lots left in me. I plan on playing five more years,” he said, breaking into laughter. “I’ll quit when they have to cut the skates off my feet.”

Whether the veteran forward, known for among other things his sarcastic wit, was joking, well, that remains to be seen.

Here’s what is certain: Perry is tired of being a runner-up in the Final, something he’s experienced three times in the previous five seasons.

The Oilers face the Panthers in a winner-takes-all Game 7

After winning the Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2006-07, Perry suffered heartbreak in the Final in three consecutive seasons: with the Dallas Stars in 2019-20, with the Montreal Canadiens in 2020-21 and with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2021-22. It’s a feeling he doesn’t want to go through again.

“It hurts. Man does it hurt,” he said. “It’s something that sticks with you all summer. You can’t get rid of it.”

As such, he would very much like to change the narrative of the past few years.

“I don’t take this opportunity for granted,” Perry said. “I said it before: I didn’t sign here knowing I’d be in this position. I signed here hoping we’d be in this position to win a Stanley Cup. When you’re going through free agency and you’re trying to sign somewhere, you can’t just flip a coin on how many teams have a chance. These chances don’t come around often, and it’s not enjoyable to be on the other side.

“The last few years haven’t been fun so I’m looking for something different.”

In 214 career postseason games, Perry has 127 points (54 goals, 73 assists) and scored the game-winner in Edmonton’s 5-3 victory over the Panthers in Game 5. Now, he has the opportunity to live out every Canadian kid’s dream, even on the cusp of age 40: win a Game 7 to capture the Stanley Cup.

“You dream of playing a Game 7, being that hero, whether it’s on the street, the backyard rink, wherever it is,” said Perry in this, his 19th season. “And now it’s reality. Now it’s exciting. Now you get to live that moment.

“There’s going to be somebody, and hopefully it’s in this room, that is going to be the hero, and going down in history for being that guy.”

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