So much has been said about Patrick Maroon’s three Stanley Cups in a row when he played for two different teams.
That’s impressive, especially for a bottom 6 player, and something that didn’t exist in the age of the salary cap. Other 11 Bolts players could be three-time winners in a row if the team can achieve it this year. In Maroon’s case, it will be his fourth win, which has only been done 12 times before and hasn’t been since the New York Islanders in the early 1980s.
But Corey Perry has a mission to complete. After losing two straight years in the Cup Final to Dallas and Montreal, he joined the team that had beaten him both times earlier, the Tampa Bay Lightning, to capture the elusive title for the third time. It’s not that he hasn’t won it before – he helped the Ducks win it in 2007 – but it can be painful to lose the putter twice, knowing how difficult it is to get to the final in the first place. .
Perry joined the dark side, and although no longer the striker he once was, he developed into one of the best players in the bottom six at the end of the season. He causes trouble for you-know-what when he wants to be, but he still has a bit of that trademark offensive flair that makes him valuable away from pest control.
The last three years can be called a kind of career rebirth. In his prime, Perry was an elite power forward, played many times in the Stanley Cup, became a member of the Triple Gold Club, won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player in 2011, and scored 30 or more goals six times, as evidenced by his 50 in 2010- 11 years
But Perry was bought out of the remainder of his Anaheim contract after a disappointing 2018-19 season as he struggled to create a lot of offense and ended up in Dallas’ bottom six in 2019-10. He had a couple of 21-point seasons before scoring 19 goals and 40 points in a more prominent role with the Lightning.
But his performances in the playoffs stand out in particular – in 2021 he worked well with young forwards Kol Cofield and Nick Suzuki, and this year he has also been a threat to society.
Once Perry stopped being a leader, he found his game again. And that’s why so many of his teammates respect him, because he still gives his all at 37 and finds a way to stay relevant in the final years of his career.
To some extent, there are strong parallels with the last player to win the Cup on the third attempt after two failures in a row: Marian Hossa. In 2008, Hossa played for the Penguins but lost to Detroit. The following year, he switched sides for a rematch, but also lost. Finally, he won the elusive trophy in 2010 at Chicago and won it twice more in 2013 and 2014 as one of the team’s key players in that dominant stretch.
The situation with Perry is almost more interesting because he joined the team that beat him twice in a row, so it would be special for him if he finally made it.
“I’ve been on some good teams, I’ve had some good rejections along the way, but to be on this side, to see what these guys have been through in the last couple of years, we’re excited,” Perry said.
Captain Steven Stamkos said meeting guys who haven’t been part of this group in the last few years – Perry, Nick Paul, Brian Elliott and others – will mean more than winning another Cup for himself. Earlier in the playoffs, coach John Cooper said the end goal would not change due to past success. They are still here to win it for everyone, including veterans near the end of their careers like Perry.
“When I first got here, some of the guys said, ‘We’re still hungry, we want to experience that feeling again.’ You can see that this is still the case and we are excited,” Perry said.
“When I won my first tournament in Anaheim, I was like that too. There were guys who played for 16, 17, 18 years and never had a chance to play in the final. When you see it and hear people say it, it’s very special.”
One of the most important parts of this playoff for Perry, more special than the other two, is the return of his family. In 2020, they were not allowed into the bubble. There were still some restrictions in 2021 and Perry didn’t have a family either. They’ve been by his side all along, so there’s extra motivation this time around.
“From my point of view, there’s been a bit more noise,” Perry said. “That’s why we play this game.”
Perry has one more year left on his two-year contract, and unless he retires early, he will have another chance to play in the Stanley Cup Finals if Tampa can keep the group together.
However, this is not his goal now. Expect Perry to bring his signature sizzle over the next two weeks.