For the first time since being traded or bought out by the Anaheim Ducks, Andrew Cogliano and Corey Perry will face off with their former team as members of the Dallas Stars. And while both are excited for the reunion, it also brings some uncertain feelings.
Corey Perry did some serious damage against the Dallas Stars throughout his NHL career. With 19 goals and 45 points in 63 games, countless scraps with various Stars, and earning himself the title of Undesirable No. 1 among Stars fans in the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the veteran forward was a thorn in the Stars’ side for the better part of the past 14 seasons.
But now he’s wearing Victory Green and trying to help Dallas build on a positive 2018-19 season and contend for a Stanley Cup. As a veteran leader with a winning pedigree that is coming off of knee surgery and a buyout, he seems like a perfect fit for the 2019-20 Stars team.
It’s funny how quickly perspective can change.
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After missing all of training camp and the preseason, Perry was also sidelined for the first seven games of the regular season while recovering from a fractured foot. And as he watched the Stars begin the season on a 1-5-1 note, he became all the more eager to get back on the ice and begin helping his new team.
“It’s just another day of hockey for me,” Perry said about returning to the lineup, “but you have to try and help the young guys and try not panic too much. It just looked like we were throwing the puck around a lot when I was watching from up top. You try to talk to them and tell them that they have a little bit more time than they think. It’s definitely paying off.”
And since Perry made his debut with the Dallas Stars on Oct. 16, the team looks better and more competitive as a whole. They are 2-2-0 with Perry in the lineup, but are applying more pressure on offense and on the power play, look more determined and physical, and are playing with more energy and efficiency.
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“They made it easy on me putting me with some good players and in spots to succeed,” Perry said on Wednesday following practice. “It definitely helps when you have that. The confidence will come and it’s continuing to grow every single day. That’s what happens when you start playing with the same players and get some reps in.”
While it still may be odd for you to see a player that you loathed for so many years now wearing a Dallas Stars jersey and helping the team forge ahead, you’re not alone. Perry is still in the process of adjusting to not only life in Dallas, but life with a new team. After all, uprooting 14 years of your life in southern California and transporting it to North Texas in a matter of a few months isn’t easy.
Thursday night will provide Perry with another one of those odd moments that a player never prepares for when he faces his former team for the first time in his career.
The Dallas Stars will welcome the Anaheim Ducks to American Airlines Center on Thursday as they continue a four-game homestand. Both teams are in need of a win as the Ducks try to keep their hot start to the season alive and the Stars attempt to take another step out of their early-season hole.
But for Perry, Thursday will serve as his first chance to go against the team that gave him his NHL start and helped him build one of the most successful campaigns of any player from his generation.
"“No hard feelings, like I said. It’s a business and you move on. Sometimes change is a good thing. I’m embracing what I have here.” –Corey Perry on being bought out by Anaheim in June"
From winning a Stanley Cup in 2007, to appearing in four All-Star Games, to winning the Hart Memorial Trophy and Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy, to working his way into the top-three in goals (372), assists (404), points (776), and games played (988) in Ducks’ franchise history, he put together an elite run in his time with Anaheim.
To top it all off, he managed to score a goal against each of the 30 other teams in the NHL during his time in a Ducks uniform. Anaheim now remains as the lone team that he has yet to score against in a game.
“It’s a date on the calendar that I saw when I signed here,” Perry said. “It’s going to be weird and it’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be good to catch up with some of them.”
And while the spotlight is on Perry because of his resume and tenure with the Ducks, it will also be the first time that Andrew Cogliano and Devin Shore face off with their former teams. The two forwards were traded for one another on Jan. 14, 2019, but Anaheim and Dallas had already wrapped up their season series against each other by that point.
“I haven’t really thought about it just yet,” Cogliano said. “It’ll be tough. I’m really good friends with a lot of guys on the team, to be honest. We’ll see. We’re in a position where we need wins, so I’m going to have to compete hard and I know they will, too. It will be interesting to see their team and how they’re playing.”
Cogliano’s career with the Ducks included 102 goals, 233 points, and a plus-61 rating in 584 games over eight seasons. And in his brief stint with the Stars in 2018-19, he found a way to make a sizable impact and help propel the team into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"“I’m going to try and get a lick on Getzy [Ryan Getzlaf] if I can, for sure. That’s one guy I want a good shot on. I can catch him for sure. But knowing him, he’ll be ready. If I can get a shot on him, he’s one guy that I want to feel me tomorrow.” –Cogliano on facing the Ducks"
For both Perry and Cogliano, Thursday’s game will be another “first” to get out of the way as they continue adapting to a new life with the Dallas Stars. But after navigating a slow and unexpected start to the 2019-20 season, they both know the importance of the game from a team standpoint.
“They’re in a better position than we are, so we need to win and keep this thing going here,” Cogliano said. “We had a tough start. In terms of our team game and how we need to play, we need to continue what we’re doing because we’re a little bit behind right now.”
“We’ll see how the day goes, how tomorrow goes, and go from there,” Perry added. “We’ll catch up tonight, have some laughs, and see what’s going on with everybody. But once the game starts, it’s game on.”
Thursday provides the Dallas Stars with an opportunity to take another step towards level ground. They are 3-7-1, but have a two-game win streak rolling and three home games on tap. Thursday night brings a good Anaheim Ducks team and plenty of storylines to the AAC.
Perry and Cogliano will find themselves at the heart of those storylines. And while they caught up with former teammates on Wednesday, they are aware of the business at hand on Thursday.
“I’m sure they know what I’m all about,” Perry said when asked about the abrasiveness that he will bring to the game on Thursday. “You have dinner tonight, get that out of the way, see everybody, and say hi to the trainers and staff at the rink. But once the puck drops, it’s game on.”