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For Ducks' Corey Perry, greed is a good thing

The forward, 26, has won a Stanley Cup title and an Olympic gold medal, and he is the NHL's reigning most valuable player. 'It just makes you want more,' he says. 'You know how it feels and you want to do it all over again.'

October 13, 2011|By Lisa Dillman
  • Ducks center Corey Perry gets set for a faceoff against the Kings last season at Honda Center.
Ducks center Corey Perry gets set for a faceoff against the Kings last season… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )

What happened in Vegas most assuredly did not remain in Vegas.

Not the makeup session for a magazine photo shoot.

"That's a first," Corey Perry said, chuckling.

Or helping to make, and hand out, cotton candy.

"That was a first as well," Perry said.

Becoming a (temporary) member of Blue Man Group.

"The list goes on, I guess," Perry said. "It was all fun. And it was all different. Something I've never done before, took me out of my element."

The clips of Perry's most excellent, out-of-element adventure in Las Vegas are video evidence that it did happen. All this was a prelude to a more tangible confirmation of the complete Vegas experience, the NHL awards.

Two shiny relics came his way in June: the Hart Memorial Trophy, given to the league's most valuable player, and the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, which goes to the NHL's leading goal scorer. Perry became the first player from a Southern California team to win the MVP award since Wayne Gretzky did so with the Kings in 1989.

It says a lot about Perry that his individual accolades came after he helped take his country to the highest level, playing for the Canadian team that won gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. He also was a key contributor for the Ducks when they won the Stanley Cup in 2007.

The Ducks forward would have used the word "crazy" if someone had told himthat all this would happen by age 26.

"You dream about all those things," Perry said Thursday, the eve of the Ducks' home opener at Honda Center. "You never think you're going to accomplish them. But to accomplish them at such a young age and to have them all, it's pretty special. It just makes you want more. You know how it feels and you want to do it all over again."

Greed, after all, can be good around the net.

"That's what it is to be an athlete," Perry said. "You want more and you want to win more. It's almost like being greedy."

The Hart Trophy has been maddeningly elusive when it comes to repeat performances. In the last 23 years, two players managed to win back-to-back MVPs, goalie Dominik Hasek of the Buffalo Sabres in the 1990s and the Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin in 2007-08 and 2008-09.

"You've got everybody's eyes on you and you've got to try to be as good as you were before, if not better. It's hard to do in this league," Perry said. "You've got to go out and prove yourself all over again."

Said Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle: "They'll be no given. I think he'll be noticed now because of the accomplishment of last year. I think he'll be checked harder. The opposition will pay more attention to him, if they weren't already. There's an exclamation mark, an asterisk beside his name."

Veteran Ducks defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky played against Perry when Visnovsky was with the Kings and the Oilers. Now he has to merely deal with Perry's skillful ways in practice, and he offered perspective on the clever agitator.

"Lots of defenseman — I don't know how you say in English — don't play hard to him because he's Corey Perry, and he's not like [Sidney] Crosby or Ovechkin," Visnovsky said. "And I think he is like these guys. I play against him in the practices, and it's not easy to beat him."

Why did Perry manage to fall under the radar last season, at least before his 50-goal, 98-point output?

"Because he is not good skater, the guys like Crosby, I don't know, like [Martin] St. Louis," Visnovsky said. "When he skates, he look like slow."

Visnovsky laughed, adding: "And he's not slow, you know. He's very smart guy."

The hands are important, and so is the head.

"I don't think there's anyone who puts more pressure on themselves to perform than Corey Perry," Carlyle said. "His expectations of himself are pretty high. We love that.

"You can always ask for more. When you lean on a guy and ask for more, he never folds his tent."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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