David Perron’s unique stick-to-itiveness works for Ducks
The most dynamic new Ducks player speaks softly and carries a short stick.
David Perron’s voice stems from his French-Canadian roots. He’s altered his stick for years, a sizable portion sawed off even though he’s listed at 6 feet and has to bend further down.
His 6-foot-3 teammate Corey Perry nearly shakes his head when he sees it.
“I can’t use it,” Perry said.
It helps Perron be one of the NHL’s better puck-handlers. He maneuvers quickly in tight spaces and gives the Ducks more of that skill element.
“I’m not a proponent of short sticks, but whatever’s working for him, I’m never going to say ‘change,’” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said.
It might as well be a magic wand for the Ducks.
Perron has re-booted his career again after a midnight January trade and transitioned well with the Ducks. He has three goals and five assists with them going into Monday’s game against his former Pittsburgh team that kicks off a seven-game trip for Anaheim.
His seven games are a small sample size, but the move has facilitated the Ducks’ turnaround. They are 6-1 with Perron.
“You never know how the chemistry will play out,” Ducks General Manager Bob Murray said. “So far, in a very small time frame, it’s the right place at the right time for the team and David. But there’s a long way to go.”
If Murray sounds cautious, he has reason.
A year ago, Perron jump-started his career with a great start after a January trade. He was sent from Edmonton to Pittsburgh and had nine goals and 13 points in his first 16 games with the Penguins.
His next 32 games? Perron scored three goals, none in the playoffs.
Perron quickly said no when asked whether his start with the Ducks had the same feeling as his start with Pittsburgh. He’s gotten back to the swagger he had earlier in his career, but his acclimation is less about pretty plays and more about the workmanlike sacrifices to make those plays possible. It’s perhaps an overlooked part of his game, and it’s part of the Ducks’ new identity in their 13-3-1 resurgence since Christmas.
These are no longer the Ducks who will skate the opponent out of the building but the ones who will make teams work for every inch of ice.
“Maybe a little bit slower pace, if you will, but kind of grinding,” Perron said. “That’s kind of the way I’ve been playing more,” Perron said.
It doesn’t hurt that he’s developed a connection playing with a renewed Ryan Getzlaf and unsung Chris Stewart.
“I feel better as far as my game,” Perron said. “It’s not about points. I think I’m controlling the puck a lot and making plays. The stats are maybe similar in that regard, but I think it’s the way you feel out there, the way you make plays, and I feel like I’ve been doing that.”
The Ducks have been down this road before. Mathieu Perreault fit like a glove in Boudreau’s offense two seasons ago and scored 18 goals in the regular season, then had two goals in the playoffs before he was traded to Winnipeg after one season.
This could be a short stay for Perron, too. He will become a free agent this summer, so the rest of this season will probably determine whether he is another Perreault or the man with the magic wand.
There’s no denying his confidence.
[It’s] just knowing that you’re a guy that can make a difference out there every night,” Perron said. “It’s definitely a good feeling. For the most part of my career, that’s how I felt. It’s good to go back to that.”
DUCKS AT PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
When: Monday, 4 p.m. PST.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 830.
Etc.: Sidney Crosby extended his point streak to 10 games and scored for the sixth straight game Saturday. Carl Hagelin, acquired for Perron, has five assists in eight games with Pittsburgh. Ducks goalie and Pittsburgh-area product John Gibson backstopped a 2-1 win against the Penguins on Dec.6.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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