TAMPA — Shortly after Lightning players took the ice for their morning skate before Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks at Amalie Arena, a crowd formed by the visitors bench.
There, Corey Perry held court with his former teammates.
Perry played only two seasons in Tampa Bay and didn’t achieve his goal of adding a second Stanley Cup to his likely Hall of Fame resume. But he made an impact in the dressing room as a veteran leader and consummate teammate.
“I don’t know where he’s going to end up when he finally finishes, but I hope he’s back here with us,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “You’re not going to meet somebody more first-class than Corey Perry, but someone who would just lay it all on the line to win. He was just a gem to have on this team. ... He was almost an extension of (the coaching staff). He just gets it.”
Perry, who has embraced the task of mentoring first overall pick Connor Bedard on a young Blackhawks team, said he stays in touch with many of his old teammates. He said he tries to watch the Lightning on TV as much as he can, including once this week with his son Griffin, who also made several friendships in a parent-heavy Tampa Bay locker room.
“It’s fun watching, because he knows everybody,” Perry said. “That’s exciting.”
Nicknamed “The Worm,” Perry long ago earned a reputation as someone players love to have as a teammate but hate to play against. The way he can get under an opponent’s skin makes him reviled by other teams and their fans.
Though he spent only two seasons in Tampa Bay, Perry, 38, anticipated an emotional return and received a warm welcome from the crowd during the game, which included a tribute video.
“It’ll be interesting; it’ll be fun,” Perry said after the morning skate. “It was home for two years, so we laid down some roots here and it was an exciting time for us. So it’s nice to be back. We’ll see how it goes.”
The Raddysh sibling rivalry
Lightning defenseman Darren Raddysh played against his younger brother, former Tampa Bay forward Taylor, when the siblings were in the AHL. But Thursday’s game marked the first time the two were on opposite ends of the ice as NHL regulars.
The brothers grew up playing hockey together and were teammates in the OHL while playing for the Erie Otters. They played together at AHL Syracuse and in one game with the Lightning on Feb. 11, 2022 in Arizona before Taylor was traded to Chicago as part of the Brandon Hagel deal.
That game was the last time the brothers were on the ice together until Thursday.
Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene
Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
“I’m just going to make sure I’m doing the right things and playing my way and make sure I keep him off the scoresheet,” Darren said after the morning skate.
Taylor, a former Lightning second-round pick, played 53 games with Tampa Bay as a rookie. He became an everyday player in Chicago, scoring 20 goals last season for the Blackhawks. But before the trade, getting to play with his brother was a reason Darren signed with the Lightning after spending time in the Blackhawks and Rangers organizations.
Add one more wrinkle: The brothers’ mother, Gwen, was watching her sons play against each other as part of the Blackhawks’ moms trip.
“She’s probably a little nervous,” Darren said. “I know she doesn’t like it when we go up against each other, so I think she’s probably just going to enjoy the moment and just enjoy having her two boys on the ice.”
Lightning recall extra defenseman
The team recalled right-shot defenseman Philippe Myers from AHL Syracuse before the game as the seventh defenseman on the roster.
Myers, who played 11 games with the Lightning last year but spent most of the season with the Crunch, didn’t make the opening-night roster but had played well in Syracuse. His plus-7 plus/minus rating leads the Crunch and is tied for second in the AHL among defensemen. He is second on the team among defensemen with 18 shots on goal, so he’s been aggressive in the offensive zone.
After the team sent Haydn Fleury to Syracuse on a conditioning assignment and traded Zach Bogosian to Minnesota for a draft pick, the Lightning entered Thursday with just six defensemen before calling up Myers. He was acquired from Nashville in the summer of 2022 in the cap-space trade that sent defenseman Ryan McDonagh to the Predators.
Quote of the day
“(We’ll miss him) a ton. There’s another guy with championship pedigree and was part of the family of us winning. The only solace is that I think he’s going to a spot that wants him where he’s with guys he knows. He and Patty (Maroon) are really close and he has a house there, so the moving situation won’t be bad for him. But he’ll definitely be missed here, because he was a great teammate.”
— Cooper on defenseman Zach Bogosian, who was traded Wednesday to Minnesota
• • •
Sign up for the Sports Today newsletter to get daily updates on the Bucs, Rays, Lightning and college football across Florida.