CHICAGO — Corey Perry is temporarily absent from the Chicago Blackhawks, according to general manager Kyle Davidson on Saturday, and “will remain so for the foreseeable future.”
The 38-year-old forward has sat out the last two games and missed practice with the team this week. When queried about the decision possibly being related to a trade, Davidson refrained from ruling out any possibilities, stating, “You know, I think to start ruling anything out, I think is irresponsible, so I’m just going to not comment on any possible outcome.”
Perry’s agent, Pat Morris, stated, “Corey Perry has stepped away from the Chicago Blackhawks to attend to personal matters. Corey and his family appreciate privacy at this time.”
Perry was a healthy scratch in the Blackhawks’ 7-3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday due to an “organizational decision,” coach Luke Richardson explained. He did not attend the Blackhawks practice on Thursday and was again scratched for their 4-3 overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.
“We’re taking it just like any other roster move, whether it be injury or trade or whatever,” Richardson stated. “That’s the coach’s duty is to make adjustments on the fly. I thought [Friday] night was obviously a great showing by our team. I thought the older guys really pushed the guys to stay on track, especially as we got older in the game and got going better. I think you saw that with (Jason) Dickinson (hat trick) and (Nick) Foligno’s efforts, especially up front, locking down probably one of the best lines in hockey (Auston Matthews) and adding three goals. So that’s a pretty strong leadership path to follow.”
Perry has accumulated nine points (four goals, five assists) in 16 games, tying for fourth on the Blackhawks behind Connor Bedard (17 points), Philipp Kurashev (12) and Dickinson (11).
“He’s a big part of what we’re doing here, so it’s unfortunate,” Foligno said. “We don’t know more than that, so I’m not going to comment further, but as far as this room, he’s a big part of it. He’s well loved and we’ll miss him.”
Acquired by the Blackhawks from the Tampa Bay Lightning for a seventh-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft on June 29, Perry signed a one-year, $4 million contract with Chicago the next day. The Blackhawks brought in Perry, along with forwards Foligno and Taylor Hall, who were acquired from the Boston Bruins on June 26, to help their rookies and young players this season.
Hall will miss the rest of the season following ACL surgery on his right knee, which Davidson said is scheduled for Monday in Minnesota. The 32-year-old forward had four points (two goals, two assists) in 10 games this season.
Davidson expressed confidence in the collective growth of the young team in the absence of veteran players, stating, “There’s been a significant growth in the group as a collective. We did bring some players in, but we had some strong leaders already here. It’s just a collective leadership group that’s going to continue in the future. I’ve been really happy with how the collective (group) has been led so far, and I trust that they will do so moving forward. You look to some of the older veterans that have been around and have been added that are in that locker room right now, and I have no fear that there’s enough quality leadership to carry this forward.”
Davidson also wasn’t sure if the Blackhawks will acquire another player to fill the void on the roster, stating, “It’s not an easy thing to do just to add on the fly, especially this early in the season. There are probably other teams that would be far more aggressive than us in trying to add talent if we were to look at that. It’s not something I’m looking at right now.”
The No. 28 pick by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2003 NHL Draft, Perry has 892 points (421 goals, 471 assists) in 1,273 games with the Ducks, Dallas Stars, Montreal Canadiens, Lightning and Blackhawks. He won the Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007 and the Hart Trophy as NHL most valuable player in 2010-11, when he had 98 points (50 goals, 48 assists) in 82 games with Anaheim.
“He just carries so much weight with the experiences he’s had in his career,” Foligno said. “What he’s seen, what he’s accomplished. He’s kind of done it all when you look at his career, right? He’s been a top-line guy, he’s been a role player, he’s won, he’s won awards. … So when he speaks, it carries a lot of weight. Guys really gravitate toward him because he’s a great guy to be around, loves the game and especially at his age. He loves coming to the rink. It’s a good lesson for everybody. It’s going to be hard not having him around.”
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