'I’m very fortunate': Oilers' Corey Perry readies for fifth Stanley Cup Final

“I’m very fortunate…there are players who have played 1000 (league) games, who’ve never had any playoff games,” said Perry, before Game 1

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Hall of Famer Paul Coffey, currently running the defence on Kris Knoblauch’s staff, made it to Stanley Cup finals with Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Philadelphia.

Charmed life for Coffey, whose first finals experience was the sobering 1983 Oilers loss to the New York Islanders, who swept Edmonton in four.

Coffey is second all-time reaching the finals in four different jerseys, tied with one-time Oiler Marty Gelinas (Edmonton, Canucks, Hurricanes and Flames), Daryl Sydor, Al Arbour, Ab McDonald and Larry Hillman.

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Not as good as Corey Perry, though.

He’s No. 1, with five (Anaheim, Dallas, Tampa, Montreal and now Oilers), so nobody knows the finals’ drill like the 39-year-old Oiler winger who dressed for his 210th playoff game Saturday against Florida Panthers, on a line with Ryan McLeod and Warren Foegele.

How long Perry lasts there is anybody’s guess, because he’s also been a healthy scratch five times in the playoffs, but only 15 players have been in more post-season games than Perry.

“I’m very fortunate…there are players who have played 1000 (league) games, who’ve never had any playoff games,” said Perry, before Game 1.

Perry’s Oiler teammate Sam Gagner has played 1,043 league games and just 11 in post-season, and none with the team that drafted him in 2007. He had six with the Flyers and five with Columbus, but that’s it over 17 seasons.

Knoblauch says Perry is everything to everybody, the tough-minded father-figure.

“There’s a lot of leadership. I guess that’s a big term, but I think a lot of guys have a lot of respect for Corey because of his resume and everything that he’s accomplished in his career,” he said.

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Edmonton Oilers Corey Perry
Corey Perry #90 of the Edmonton Oilers plays the puck in front of Ryan Suter #20 of the Dallas Stars during the second period in Game Five of the Western Conference Final of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 31, 2024 in Dallas, Texas. Photo by Richard Rodriguez /Getty Images

“I know throughout the season Corey has spoken up on things that needed to be addressed with our team, how we have been playing and how we’ve righted the ship a lot of the times. And, on the ice, he’s given us a lot, whether that’s plays on the wall, or around the net,” he said.

“Maybe his numbers (just one assist in 13 games) aren’t what they usually are in the playoffs, not the goal-scoring. But the intangibles of his game (not always measured in the analytics world)…I think they go a lot farther,” said Knoblauch.

His former frustrated foe, the longest-standing Oiler Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, likes Perry a whole lot more as a teammate, thank you.

“I’ve played against him for many years, especially, when I first came in when he was on a really good team in Anaheim. Always tough to play against. Could score at will,” said Nugent-Hopkins, in his first final in his 13th NHL year.

“His puck protection is still at an elite level at this point (career). I know one thing: it’s a lot easier to have him on your team than to have to play against him,” he said.

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