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Blackhawks Column: On the Curious Case of Corey Perry



After a day’s worth of speculation regarding Corey Perry, and discussion around the Thanksgiving dinner table, I could only think of one thing.

It was several months back that my three daughters were amped with anticipation for the annual Daddy-daughter dance at their school. In particular my daughter in the middle of birth orders was the most excited. Picking out music she’d request. Dancing around the room. Putting on her best 80’s clothes (it was an 80’s themed dance).

But about 30 minutes before we were to leave, she looked off. Quiet and withdrawn all of a sudden, she curled up on the couch and asked us to turn down the TV. The parental instinct didn’t need to guess what was happening. Within 15 minutes, she was sick in the bathroom. After considerable debate, and a lot of tears, she was a “scratch” for the dance.

But once we got to the school, the questions began. “What do you mean–I just saw her at dance this morning!” Another: “But she looked fine earlier!” But there was one that cracked me up: “I heard she was upset about something and didn’t want to come!”

It couldn’t have been further from the truth. But it was still stated as some kind of truth. We considered letting her go, thinking maybe her over excitement about the day overworked her emotions. A few hours into that dance, my wife let me know that she most certainly had the flu.

The “organizational decision” the following day was to healthy scratch the rest of the kids from activities–just in case. Like dominoes, they’d all fall throughout the week–one getting sick every 48 hours without fail. Indeed, the decision to hold them out was the right one.

For sure, it’s a little bit different of a situation. But whatever’s going on with the Blackhawks and Corey Perry, decisions have been made for one reason or another–no matter how things looked just a few days ago.

The Blackhawks and Corey Perry Have Been a Good Match So Far

Perhaps this is the part that is so perplexing all of a sudden for people. 48 hours ago, Perry is emerging from practice and signing gear and handing sticks out to kids. It was a pre-Thanksgiving heartwarming moment. Here’s once an arch-rival of the organization–a guy Blackhawks fans loved to hate–and now he’s endearing himself to kids and adults alike. Excitement was in the air with the new look top power play unit with Perry going net front.

His nine points on the ice, and impact in the locker room was being lauded. ‘What a guy’ they gushed and after morning skate Wednesday–the Blackhawks announce he’s a scratch. Later, it’s an organizational decision. Nothing more, nothing less.

But that doesn’t stop the speculation–because human beings are inquisitive by nature. Milan Lucic’s day in court recently coaxes the “organizational decision” to be an immediate negative.

On the other side, it started trade speculation that has Perry and perhaps Petr Mrazek headed to Edmonton. It’s certainly plausible. Edmonton is a hot mess. Perry is a great figure to have in the locker room and has been solid on the ice. Mrazek has enjoyed an excellent start to his season. Maybe they could help the sputtering Oilers?

No matter what it is, though, it’s merely speculation as the Blackhawks have made it abundantly clear they’re not saying anymore than what head coach Luke Richardson said today.

“We’re going to keep that internal in the organization right now,” Richardson said. “I’m unable to answer any more questions on that.”

In Short, It is Whatever It is

Now Richardson wasn’t angry or annoyed when he answered it. In fact, he was just speaking as it was–in his usual measured tone. But perhaps the more amusing part of how this has all transpired is that the guy many Blackhawks fans were annoyed at getting is suddenly the biggest story in the city.

The media cycle now is one that is instantaneous–be it with tweets updating quotes almost on the spot as reporters and fans type furiously to get the information out there. One minute Perry is filmed signing autographs. The next moment he’s a scratch due to organizational determination.

In the more cynical minded society we live in, it must mean something bad happened. The simple reality could be that there were other factors in play. Maybe he’s sick? Something personal is going on. We’re all human after all, and if it’s something one doesn’t want to discuss, they won’t. Could the Blackhawks have placed the onus on themselves, saying it was organizational?

Perhaps the Blackhawks are indeed trying to ship him off. If they are, there’s zero chance they would tell anyone they were. Much for the same reason that whatever happened, they’re not letting on to it.

It simply is whatever it is. Conventional wisdom states that if it was some sort of Lucic-like situation, that news would already have been out. Reporters have asked their questions. Those questions have been answered with Richardson simply having a response on the whole matter to kick off his press conference.

But if indeed a trade is happening, there’s no way the Blackhawks would want anything to get out for obvious reasons. Beyond that, the human side of it dictates a lot of change for a guy who just arrived in Chicago four months ago. Maybe the Hawks want to move on it, but Perry is reluctant. The human aspect is often forgotten because it’s a results based business that looks more at the here and now.

Similar to my daughter who has to wait to be back at that dance, Blackhawks fans and those following the team will wait until he either plays again or if indeed it’s a trade, he’s playing elsewhere.

Until then, it’s just a matter of seeing what happens next.

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