Eric Perrin leaves the Tampa Bay Lightning gracefully, says he's likely headed to Finland
Eric Perrin, who on Tuesday was released from his tryout with the Tampa Bay Lightning, had nothing but good things to say about his time trying to earn his third stint with the team, and that he likely will play this season in Finland.
I write a bit about Perrin in Wednesday's paper, but, as I've always said, so much of an interview never sees the light of day. And with Perrin, 34, having such a rich history with the Lightning, figured all of what he had to say would be interesting.
On his release: "Of course, right now, at this moment I'm disappointed. You got two weeks and you give it everything, physically and mentally, it takes a lot out of you, and for it to come on the last day, and it doesn't work out, it's disappointing. But I've survived this long by thinking positive in my career, and I try to pull positives out of every experience, and right now the positive I take out of this is that the past two or three years I haven't had as much fun playing as I think I should have, and the last two weeks has lifted my spirits and put some joy back into playing."
On his effort: "I felt great about my camp. I felt great about what I did and felt like I put it all out there, and at the end I think it came down to not that. It does make me feel better to know that it wasn't because I didn't do good enough. ... I have no regrets about anything. I told everybody how grateful I am for having given me the opportunity. With the market, and all the players available, for them to open their door to me, I feel very grateful they gave me the opportunity to show what I can do."
Where he will play next: "Finland, that's where I had the most fun playing and success."
On being cut in favor of 23-year-old Mattias Ritola: "It's a weird feeling. But I guess I've been in the game 14 years professionally, and I try to kind of understand this part of it, which is still hard to do. I know these guys have difficult decisions to make and have to look ahead in the future and make decisions, and that's what it came down to. I really felt like I had the skills to help them and provide something some teams don't have; versatility, I can play everywhere and jump in everywhere."
Finally, we wish Perrin well in whatever he does. His story was one of the nicest coming out of the 2003-04 season, when he got his first chance in the NHL with his buddy Marty St. Louis on a team that won the Stanley Cup. Perrin also reiterated he always will have a soft spot in his heart for the Lightning and the Tampa Bay area fans. A good guy, who deserves every success.