Dallas Stars v Edmonton Oilers - Game Six

Many of us Canadians had the same dream growing up: A game-winning goal. Game 7. The Stanley Cup Final.

These dreams came alive when we picked up broken or used hockey sticks and shot around an orange hockey ball into a net that had seen better days. With no one around, we let our imaginations run freely.

Griffin Perry was doing the same on Tuesday morning.

As Oilers players, including Griffin’s dad, arrived at Rogers Place and prepared for their media availabilities ahead of the Stanley Cup Final, the sounds of steel blades on ice echoed through the Oilers hallway. In a bowl that fits nearly 18,500 people, Griffin skated alone, letting his imagination run freely.

Who knows? Maybe he was dreaming of playing in a Stanley Cup Final like his dad.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” shared Corey Perry. “The last few years, he’s been around but I think now it’s starting to kick in what’s at stake.

“If you get that opportunity and you do win, you have your day with [the Stanley Cup]. To have that day to spend with family and friends, that’s what you’re looking forward to. That’s what you’re putting your mindset towards. But at the same time, it’s one step at a time. Take care of business first. Enjoy everything after that.”

Adam & Corey speak about the upcoming Stanley Cup Final

It’s been 17 years since Corey Perry hoisted the Stanley Cup — for the first and only time during his NHL career.

A 22-year-old Perry achieved hockey’s ultimate goal surrounded by great leaders like Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger and Teemu Selanne. These weren’t hockey players he looked up to, but people he looked up to. A big difference in his words. Now in his 19th season, life has come full circle for Corey. He is a stoic and reliable leader in the Oilers dressing room in a quest for the franchise’s sixth Stanley Cup.

“Corey’s been a great addition to our team,” shared Oilers Head Coach Kris Knoblauch. “With his play, you know the ‘game within the game,’ those little things he does very well but I think his leadership has been his strongest part.

“You’ve got a player who’s pretty much gone through everything: Stanley Cup Finals, Stanley Cup championships. He’s been another piece to our team adding that leadership aspect. We’ve got a lot of that in that room but I think he just adds a little bit more of it just having that success that he has.”

“It’s been a long 17 years,” Perry shared with a smile. “A lot of miles on the body and a lot of ups and downs. Every day you wake up and come to the rink, it’s a happy day.”

From the outside, Perry’s infectious positivity was tested when he was pulled from the lineup when the team needed a different look for Game 6 versus Vancouver on home ice. Knoblauch had to make the “tough decision” of pulling Perry from the lineup, yet in conversations with Oilers players, ‘Pers’ remained a great teammate and presence.

“Every single day the sun comes up, it might not be shining but it’s up,” Perry shared when asked about his mindset when pulled from the lineup. “It’s a new day and another opportunity to plug away. You never want to be pulled from the lineup. Over my career, I can remember every single time I’ve come out of the lineup. That’s not easy, but it’s for the greater good of the team.

“I just wanted to work out and come to the rink with a smile on my face. Just be the same person. You don’t change, you don’t sulk, you don’t walk around like it’s the end of the world. You will have the opportunity to get your number called again and make a difference on the ice. When I got back (into the lineup), I was ready to play.”

Perry got the tap for Game 4 against Dallas as the Oilers trailed 2-1 in the Western Conference Final. He factored in on the icebreaker with an assist. It was a storybook script that only Zach Hyman could write.

Paige, Bob & Jack tee up Oilers vs. Panthers starting on Saturday

Off the floor and on the board, as they say in Anaheim — fittingly, where Corey Perry spent the first 14 seasons of his NHL career; a career that’s been decorated with a ridiculous amount of hardware:

  • 2007 Stanley Cup
  • 2011 Hart Memorial Trophy
  • 2011 Rocket Richard Trophy
  • Two-time First NHL All-Star Team
  • Two Olympic Gold Medals
  • 2016 World Championship
  • 2016 World Cup of Hockey Winner

When factoring in his junior career, including a 2005 World Junior Championship, we get to understand how much of a winner Corey Perry truly is.

“He’s played in every big game there is to play in. He’s got a wealth of knowledge in those games,” shared Connor McDavid, Griffin Perry’s favourite player. “To have him here and just being around the room every day, it’s been pretty special.”

On January 22nd in his introductory press conference with the Edmonton Oilers, Corey Perry shared his championship aspirations. Fast forward to Saturday, Corey Perry will make NHL history as the first player to play in the Stanley Cup Final with five different franchises.

“I’m fortunate. Been fortunate to play on good teams. Maybe too many teams. I’m not getting any younger,” joked Perry.

“This could be my last kick at the can.”