"That's where I have to make my living, around the net and be in those dirty areas where a lot of pucks are laying. It's one of those things where you just have to keep doing what got you here. That's coming to work every day; it's going out there and if I have to agitate, I'll agitate. If it means getting into the dirty areas, I'll get into the dirty areas."
-- Corey Perry
Name the top offensive players in the game today, and there are a few names that immediately jump to mind -- Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Iginla, Heatley, Getzlaf, Carter.
None of those players, however, has raised their goals and points totals each of the last four seasons.
forward Corey Perry
, however, has done just that, topping out at 32 goals and 72 points last season. And if he keeps scoring at the same pace he's been this season -- team-highs of 12 goals and 20 points in 16 games heading into the weekend, he'll make it five in a row.
His combination of skill, size and toughness has made him one of the League's most all-round skilled players, even if he flies below the radar of most fans.
"Doesn't bother me," Perry told NHL.com. "I just go out there and play my game and see what happens. Whatever goes on happens. I just go to the rink and work."
If fans outside of Southern California haven't come to appreciate the 6-foot-3, 206-pound native of Peterborough, Ont., those who see him the most have no problem educating the rest of the hockey world.
"Corey is unbelievable around the net," said teammate Teemu Selanne
. "Even when he doesn't score he makes a screen, he makes the goalie's job way tougher. He's very valuable in so many different ways."
"He does a little bit of everything," linemate Bobby Ryan
told NHL.com. "He can play any style of game. He's great in the corners, dangerous in front of the net, in scrums and things like that. But what people don't realize about him is he can play the open-ice game very well. He can get himself set up, find the open guy incredibly well. He's just an all-around dangerous player everywhere on the ice."
In the same breath, Ducks coach Randy Carlyle
compared Perry to a magician and a bug -- in a complimentary way, of course.
"Corey is a real slippery guy around the net," Carlyle said. "He can get inside on people. He seems to make something out of nothing. The puck will be in his feet, along the wall, and he's the kind of guy that can pull the puck out like a rabbit out of a hat, make things happen. It seems like there's nothing there and then he ends up with it. He's a real agitating player to play against, from the standpoint that he's going to be in the goalie's face, he's going to play in the defenseman's face, he's going to be around. He's kind of like a gnat. But he's 6-foot-3 and 206 pounds, so he's a big bug."
Perry shrugs off the compliments like he does the players who have tried to slow him down this season.
"That's where I have to make my living, around the net and be in those dirty areas where a lot of pucks are laying," he told NHL.com. "It's one of those things where you just have to keep doing what got you here. That's coming to work every day; it's going out there and if I have to agitate, I'll agitate. If it means getting into the dirty areas, I'll get into the dirty areas."
The next area he could find himself in is Vancouver come February. Perry was one of 46 players invited to Canada's Olympic evaluation camp.
"It gives you a lot of things to play for," Perry said. "You know you're up for consideration for the Olympic team. You want to play your best every year, you want to play every game like it's your last one and you don't want to leave anything on the ice. To be put in that category is something special and something you remember. You just move forward and keep pushing every day. You know there's always something you're playing for in the back of your mind.
"It is definitely a confidence boost. To be considered is definitely an honor. In that group there're a lot of great players, right from (Sidney) Crosby, (Jarome) Iginla, those kind of guys. It's a great compliment."
It's also one well-deserved.
has been a top-level player at every level he's played at," Carlyle said. "... I think he earned (the Olympic camp invitation). For him, it's recognition. It's not always the guys in the headlines that win you games and make differences. Corey Perry
is one of those guys that fly under the radar, but we really appreciate him on our hockey club."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org.