On Saturday night, the Anaheim Ducks return to Smashville for the second and final time this regular season. While animosity between the two clubs developed during the first round of the playoffs last spring, no player is currently disliked by the Predator faithful as much as Ducks super star Corey Perry.
At Bridgestone Arena, choruses of boos ring out whenever Perry touches the puck. In addition, the Nashville crowd has at times chanted “Perry is a sissy” during the playoffs and in Anaheim’s November 8th loss at Nashville. However, don’t think any of that bothers the Hart Trophy- winning former Stanley Cup and Olympic champion.
“That’s my game. That’s the way I have to play,” Perry said when asked about playing with an edge. “If I’m not doing that, I’m not playing the style I need to play to be successful and do the things I want to do on the ice. It’s always a good thing to be noticed,” Perry said with a smile, adding “I don’t mind it. They notice me. That can’t be a bad thing.”
Fans do notice him, and Perry says Nashville isn’t the first place he has earned the wrath of a team’s fan base.
“I mean, it is not the first time it has happened, and I definitely don’t think it will be the last time either,” Perry assures.
Francois Beauchemin has been a long-time teammate of Perry’s in Anaheim, with the exception of a season and a half stint he did with the Toronto Maple Leafs between 2009-11. Beauchemin says that the skilled forward definitely knows how to get under the skin of his opponents.
“That’s the way he plays. He plays hard ever night, every shift. Sometimes he is going to do some things that other teams are not going to like. It will start some fights and that kind of stuff. It is just part of his game and he is really good at it,” the defenseman said.
While Perry’s action are loud on the ice, his teammates say he is quiet off of it.
“He is really quiet. He doesn’t say much. He just leads by example and work ethic on the ice,” Beauchemin said.
Ducks Captain Ryan Getzlaf adds that everyone who meets Perry likes the 26-year old right wing. “He is one of my best friends. We’ve been together for seven years now. Everybody around the room loves him. Everyone who meets him away from the rink is probably pretty good buddies with him.”
Another long-time teammate of Perry, George Parros, also emphasized that Perry is the kind of teammate anyone would be happy to have. “He is a great teammate. He puts his team first all the time. He is a good guy in the locker room. He scores a lot of points obviously, but he is good to the guys.”
A good guy in the locker room and off the ice, the consensus, though, remains clear. Perry plays on the edge, but it is that edge that makes him the player he is today — one that scored 50 goals a season ago.
Of course, Perry also receives as good as he gives. “It’s not just here, he is always playing on the edge. He is working hard every night. He takes his fair share of shots and gives his fair share of shots,” Parros explains.
Racking up over 100 penalty minutes in every season since 2007, for the Ducks, Perry’s “in-your-face” style of play is welcome and needed. As Getzlaf explains, “That’s part of being the player who he is is playing on the edge and getting in those dirty areas to get the goals. He does it pretty effectively. We need that from him every night.”