There have been quite a few adjustments for Ducks fans this season: new coach, new faces, and new styles of play. But perhaps the most difficult new thing is really a familiar one, repackaged. It might have sunk in for some that Corey Perry is no longer a Duck, but come tonight all Ducks fans will have to face the reality that number 10 is no longer wearing the black, orange, and gold of the Ducks and instead wearing the victory green of the Dallas Stars.
Tonight will mark the first time that the former Hart trophy winner, Rocket Richard trophy winner, and Stanley Cup champion will face the Ducks from the opposing side. Perry versus the the team that he played 988 games with (2nd all time), scored 372 goals with (2nd all time), had 404 assists with (3rd all time), and had 776 points with (3rd all time). Breathe in. Breathe out.
There will not be as much fanfare around this occasion as there will be come January 9th, when the Dallas Stars pay a visit to Honda Center, and Perry skates again on Anaheim ice, but that will not make this matchup in Dallas any less odd. We will see longtime friends, and franchise staples, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry on the ice against each for the first time in the NHL (We all know that both will try to get their licks in on the ice, both physically and verbally).
Ducks fans - and commentators -may find themselves reminiscing and reliving the Pears Years. In tribute to his Mighty Moments, let’s take a look at some of Perry’s more memorable bits from his fourteen impressive years and remember why we was the poster child for Ducks Against The World causing most to hate him, and for Anaheim to fall in love with him:
Cheeky Plays. The above video is a prime example of what Perry could do best, well on top of scoring goals. He could find ways to get under other players skins by being an annoying pest who would sometimes skate the fine line between dirty and annoying. This play definitely falls into the annoying category. Perry is skating back to the bench during the overtime period against the Hurricanes, and on his way back just grabs Semin’s stick out of his hand, preventing Semin from being able to come onto the ice and make a play. While technically this should have been a penalty, it was so innocuous looking that the refs missed it.
Flashes of Brilliance. Perry during the final stretch of the 2010-2011 season was on fire and the cherry on top of that stretch for him was this goal against the Sharks. The Ducks were battling for a playoff spot at this point in time, with Perry sitting on 47 goals. He would come out in that game and score a hat trick, with the third goal above being in vintage Perry fashion, right in front of the net on a PP. Perry was a player that had high end skill, as you can see in the video below, but he always knew where he had to go to consistently score. He was not afraid of driving the net and the potential punishment that would come to him. It was worth it to score.
Exceptional Athlete. This goal came against the Islanders in the 13-14 season and exemplifies the type of skill that he had. The toe drag during the rush was a thing of beauty, that lead to an Islander player having to trip him to slow him up. Instead of allowing that to be the end of the play, Perry finds the puck and buries it from his knees.
These three plays show the different elements that Perry brought to the ice for the Ducks, but I wanted to highlight some other memorable moments below that I remember fondly.
You have the goal that finished off the comeback on Katella
There is Perry trolling Jeff Carter in the 2014 playoff series against the Kings
There is also the game 5 winner from the first round in 2015
And who can forget him scoring the 6th and final goal in the Stanley Cup clinching victory in 2007:
There are plenty of other videos that you could add to this list, which shows the sustained excellence and impact that Perry had in a Ducks sweater. That longevity is what will make it so hard to see the franchise hero in another jersey tonight.
In a way, this article is my own personal way to say goodbye to Perry. So thank you, Corey, for all of the memories you created for this Ducks fan, and I can’t wait to see your number 10 hanging in the rafters at Honda Center someday.