ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — Is there anyone in the NHL Corey Perry dislikes more than Alex Burrows?
The 2011 Hart Trophy winner sat on the players bench after practice Monday and allowed it was a fair question.
“Maybe Ryan Kesler,” he finally said.
He paused for a moment.
“He and Burrows would be right up there.”
He paused yet again.
“No. It would have to be Burrows.”
Perry had no idea when he arrived here Sunday that Burrows had been recruited to be the last forward added to the Team Canada roster for the world hockey championship.
“I got here about noon. It was too late to join the team in Fribourg. I watched the game on national TV.”
Nobody mentioned Burrows.
He furthermore had no clue that coach Brent Sutter had decided that it would be good fun to start the tournament with Perry and his Anaheim Ducks teammate Ryan Getzlaf on the same line as that @#$%^& from the Vancouver Canucks.
“Burrows and I have had some battles over the years. Lots of them. Every game we play we seem to be going against each other. There’s been a lot of stuff between us. All kinds of stuff. We’ve fought in pre-season. We’ve fought in the regular season. We’ve fought in the playoffs.”
Burrows said there’s been no love lost from his direction.
“Pretty much the same thing,” he said. “We’ve had our fair share of battles. Especially in the playoffs.”
He says the thing he hates most about Perry is the way he carries himself. “He plays chippy hockey and then he ends up scoring the winner.”
He said for the next three weeks he hopes that’s going to be what he likes best about him. Both said coming together as teammates is what Team Canada is all about.
I suggested they were two guys who maybe should consider going out and having a beer together.
“One beer might not be enough,” said Burrows. “We might need a few.”
Trouble with being Burrows is that Perry isn’t the only guy he’s going to have to buy a few beers.
“Duncan Keith for sure. We’ve had some battles in those series with the Chicago Blackhawks. I think I’m OK with Patrick Sharp. We’ve stayed away from each other.”
Burrows is so happy to be picked to play for Canada after the Canucks’ early exit from the playoffs he’s willing to become buddies with Perry and Keith for a couple weeks.
“I’m pretty happy,” he said. “Pretty excited.
“I expected to be playing for the Stanley Cup in June again this year but it’s great to be still playing. It would be great to win a gold medal,” said the player who will switch from No. 14 to No. 41 because Canada’s Mr. Clutch, Jordan Eberle, has it.
Perry won’t be having those beers for a couple of days. He’s a late arrival because of illness.
“I was sick early last week. I was in bed for three days. I decided to wait a few days to put some weight back on.”
A year ago, Perry was the winner of the Hart as the MVP of the NHL.
Now he’s here because he feels the need to succeed.
Perry played 80 games this year producing 37 goals and 60 points. Not shabby statistics, exactly. But sub-par.
The year before Perry hit 50 goals in a 98-point season.
“It was a tough year after winning the Hart. October and November weren’t great months for me. I had a busy summer. I wish I hadn’t done one or two other things. You can’t say no that often.”
There’s also the return to the scene of where his second-rate season started. The Ducks opened in Helsinki.
“Teemu Selanne went home for his farewell. We went out for a little tour on his boat and saw the countryside from the water. It was great. But there’s a 10-hour time difference from California and it’s hard to recover from that at the start of a season.”
As so-so as the season was, Perry didn’t want it to end.
“Mostly I just wanted to keep playing. I didn’t want the year to be over. I just wanted to play some more hockey.
“The world championship is the one thing I haven’t won,” said the Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal, world junior and Memorial Cup champion.
“I’ve missed the playoffs twice in my career and both times I’ve come to play for Canada. I think you should play in May.”
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