Corey Perry shrugged his shoulders. He wore a quizzical look on his face. He just didn't have an answer.
The Dallas Stars forward had been asked seconds earlier what it was going to be like to face his former team, the Anaheim Ducks, for the first time when the teams play each other in Dallas on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-SW, PRIME, NHL.TV).
"I don't know what my reaction will be, to tell you the truth," Perry said. "I really don't. It's the only NHL team I'd ever played for. I don't think I'll really know until the puck is dropped.
"It's definitely going to be different, I can tell you that."
Perry played his first 14 NHL seasons in Anaheim, winning the Stanley Cup in 2007 and scoring an NHL career-high 50 goals in 2010-11. He signed a one-year contract with the Stars on July 1 after the Ducks bought out the final two seasons of his contract June 19.
The Ducks laid the foundation for that Cup title in the first round of the 2003 NHL Draft when they selected center Ryan Getzlaf with the No. 19 pick and Perry at No. 28. The two became the faces of the team and spent a significant chunk of time as linemates.
Video: DAL@PHI: Perry goes upstairs to double Stars' lead
When Perry looks back at his time with the Ducks, the memories run far deeper than what he accomplished on the ice.
"When you're with a team and in a place for 14 years of your career, of your life, however you want to look at it, that's more than a third of my life," he said. "I was 18 when I was drafted. I played 14 years with the Ducks. I'm 34 now. So it's one of those things where it's a business, you move on, but when your career is over you think about it again.
"It's going to be exciting to see everybody. There's a lot of good memories. A lot of good hockey people with that organization. You are going to have lifelong friends forever when you are there that long. We still keep in contact with certain people."
Perry had 776 points (372 goals, 404 assists) in 988 games for the Ducks. When he signed with Dallas, a quick look at the schedule revealed the meeting against Anaheim on Thursday was slated to be NHL game No. 1,000 for him, the perfect Hollywood script.
But a broken foot, sustained when he fell off a step two days before training camp, scuttled that scenario.
He made his Stars debut in a 3-2 loss at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 16 and had his only three points this season (one goal, two assists) in a 4-1 win at the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. Dallas (3-7-1) is 2-2-0 with Perry in its lineup heading into the game against Anaheim (6-4-0).
"Injuries happen," he said. "It gets hard, but you have to take care of your body on your off days, your practice days and, for that matter, throughout the summer to get ready for the grind of the season. You have 82 games over, what is it, 180 days of the regular season? It's a lot of hockey, it's hard hockey, and it's fun. That's what keeps me going, keeps me motivated, is how fun it is, no matter how many injuries there are.
"It's different [in Dallas] but I've been here long enough now. It's been almost two months. I was hurt for all of training camp but I was still around, still part of the meetings, part of everything that was going on, watching practice. And because of that, you really get a feel of what's going on, who's here.
"The adrenaline's going. You are excited to play, excited to help this group. I just want to keep feeding off that."
Tyler Seguin has some advice for Perry; the Stars center remembers facing the Boston Bruins for the first time Nov. 5, 2013, four months and one day after they traded him to Dallas.
"It's going to be as weird, as nervous, as excited as you're ever going to be," Seguin said. "You might be a little angry, a little sad, you just try to take it all in.
"That's all I'd say to him: Just take it all in."