Oilers' Corey Perry emotional in handshake line with Dallas Stars

“That handshake line with Dallas was hard for me because I still have a lot of very close friends over there,” Perry said

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Nobody knows the gamut of emotions in handshake lines more than Corey Perry.

He was positively dancing when he got the Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007 but he’s had slumped shoulders four other times and knows how losing feels.

The Edmonton Oilers winger has played 209 post-season games, five back of former Oilers captain and Hall of Famer Kevin Lowe. His 209 playoff games is now one more than Wayne Gretzky and Jaromir Jagr though, which makes Perry an expert on playoff highs and lows. He definitely knows the gut-wrenching low that Stars’ captain Jamie Benn was feeling Sunday because he’s an old Dallas teammate.

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Benn, who shared a sentimental moment with Perry as they shook hands Sunday, has never won a Stanley Cup, getting to the finals in 2020, but losing to Tampa.

“That handshake line with Dallas was hard for me because I still have a lot of very close friends over there. When we were here (Dallas) in the bubble we were together every single day for about 70, 80 days. There was nowhere to go, just the hotel to the rink,” said Perry.

“I still talk to him (Benn) quite a bit. He’s a very good friend and he knows how hard it is to win in this league. I know how much he wants that and I was lucky to be on the right side of it,” said Perry.

One of those former Stars teammates Joe Pavelski hasn’t officially retired but Tuesday at the team wrap-up media day, he’s said he’s leaning that way after the 2-1 loss to the Oilers Sunday. He turns 40 next month and certainly is in the picture for a Hall of Fame selection when his name comes up for a vote after the mandatory three-year wait. He has the most playoff goals (74) by an American-born player.

Dallas Stars Joe Pavelski
Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers shakes hands with Joe Pavelski #16 of the Dallas Stars after Edmonton beat Dallas 2-1 in Game Six of the Western Conference Final of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on June 02, 2024 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Photo by Codie McLachlan /Getty Images

The Pavelski retirement notice is a wistful moment for Perry, 39, who loved his one year there as a buddy, and realizes the journey the former seventh-round draft pick has been on, without a Cup ring.

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“Joey and I were drafted about the same time. I played many games against him when he was in San Jose and I was in Anaheim, had many battles, then had the opportunity to play with him for that one year in Dallas,” said Perry.

“What a tremendous person and player. Just learning from him. He’s got a wealth of knowledge and right up until now, he would be on the ice before practice working on his craft. That’s the type of pro he is. Ask anybody around the league and they’ll say the same thing,” said Perry.

Perry has his one celebration in Anaheim, but he wants more.

“You never really know if you’re going to get back to there (Cup finals). You lose in the first round, second, third after that and you’re thinking next year, maybe next year,” said Perry. “You can’t take anything for granted. It’s a lot of work but when you get the chance to lift the Cup over your head, it’s well worth it.”

Perry has been to two Cup finals on Canadian teams, once with the Canadiens and now the Oilers, but this is noisier stuff for the 39-year-old.

“When I was in Montreal (finals, 2021) there was COVID and hardly anybody was in the building, maybe 3,000 or 4,000 fans at the Bell Centre, not quite the same,” said Perry.

“Different atmosphere, different animal when you have fans.”

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