His routine is the same. He’s always the last player to leave the ice during pregame warmups and takes a rink-long shot at the opposing net before he hops through the tunnel into the dressing room.
Hockey players often alter things during a slump, maybe use a different stick. But Corey Perry said he hasn’t changed anything during a 15-game goal-scoring drought, his longest since his rookie season in 2005-06.
Perry loathes to talk about it, largely because there’s not much more to say. The scoring chances are there: He’s put 43 shots on net during the slump and is the Ducks’ co-leading scorer going into a western Canada swing that starts Thursday at the Vancouver Canucks.
“I just stick to my game,” Perry said. “It’s frustrating but at the same time, I’m getting my opportunities. It’s just not going in.”
That frustration boiled over Tuesday when Perry fought Montreal’s Andrew Shaw. Perry said he was trying to inject some energy.
“Stuff happens during a game, and I thought it could be a good time to stir something up and kind of change the momentum,” Perry said.
That’s Perry’s slump in a nutshell: It’s continued even when he’s gone to the net. Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle visited Perry in his hometown of London, Canada, before June’s NHL Draft and told him over breakfast that Perry had gotten away from that prime area, where Perry scores most of his goals.
“If you’re not going to go there, you’re not going to get the minutes that are required,” Carlyle said. “There’s cookies to be earned.”
Perry had a sweet tooth early with four goals in his first eight games before the slump began on Oct. 28. He has not scored a power-play goal this season.
Carlyle recently suggested taking Perry out of his top-line role, but Perry still has contributed 12 assists during the drought and Carlyle is hesitant to move players from his second and third lines.
Carlyle probably realizes it should even out. He coached Perry during his Hart Trophy-winning season in 2010-11, when Perry scored 30 of his 50 goals in his final 41 games of that MVP year. Perry was goal-less in his first 11 games last season and finished with 34.
Said Perry, “You’ve just got to stick with it and keep pushing.”
Defenseman Shea Theodore will have about 20 family and friends in attendance in Vancouver, including his parents, Cam and Corinne.
Theodore grew up in British Columbia and occasionally went to Canucks games. His favorite players were Ed Jovanovski and Markus Naslund.
“Almost once a year my dad’s boss would give him tickets. It’s pretty special,” Theodore said on going back.
The homecoming comes as Theodore regains his confidence. He played one of his better games Tuesday, since being recalled on Nov. 20. Assistant coach Trent Yawney said Theodore has been able to put negative shifts behind him.
“It’s nice to see him get back to what we saw earlier on,” Yawney said. “We all knew it was there. It’s just that mentally, you’ve got to fight through it.”
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
On the air: TV: Ch.13; Radio: 830
Update: Yawney said Joseph Cramarossa (lower body) was a possibility to make the trip but did not know if Clayton Stoner (lower body) would join them. Vancouver defenseman Alexander Edler (broken finger) is expected to be out four to six weeks, leaving the Canucks with one of the youngest defenses in the NHL.