The Problem With Being Corey Perry… and Jason Zucker

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by Puck

Hockey Correspondent, White Cover Magazine

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“I don’t go out there looking to hurt guys.”

Perry told that to the Orange County Register. in 2009, after his elbow to the head of Philly’s now-stratospheric Claude Giroux cost him four games and almost $200,000.

“That’s not the way I am. That’s not me as a person. It is what it is.”

I believe him. I really do. I don’t think Perry was even trying to protest his suspension, I think he was just appealing to the sentiments of a suddenly-less-thirsty-for-blood hockey fanbase. He doesn’t want to be seen as a dirty player. It probably sickens him.

I imagine it would bother any Hart Trophy winner.

But, intent is not the debate here. The fact is, Perry always plays on the edge. Always. He tows that line every time he steps onto the ice, and his style of play — one bit offensive, one bit nasty — is what makes him so great. It’s what’s made him a Stanley Cup champion, a league MVP, and an Olympic gold medalist.

Corey Perry is also very big. Large. Lanky. And, when you play nasty, chippy and — yes — sometimes dirty, your size can cost you things. Like, money. Games. And, the grace and respect of hockey fans.

I don’t think Corey Perry tried to blast Jason Zucker’s head into next Tuesday. I don’t even think he was trying to hurt him and I don’t think he intentionally got his arm up like that. But, he didn’t let up. He didn’t rub him out along the boards. He didn’t use caution or any kind of restraint.

It was unnecessary. It was excessive. It was away from the play.

No, he played with fire, and he’ll get burnt.

Probably, hopefully, for at least four games this time.