When he was invited to Team Canada's orientation camp in August, Corey Perry(notes) found himself as one of many players who weren't already being measured for their Olympic jersey like the Sidney Crosbys, Joe Thorntons or Jarome Iginlas of the world. When the Team Canada roster predictions began coming out from fans and members of the media, Perry didn't find himself on many of those lists, but his play this season is making it hard to Canadian executive director Steve Yzerman to not include him on the final list.
Team Canada is expected to announce its Olympic roster on December 31st. Recent rumblings, however, indicate that Hockey Canada may make the announcement on the 30th to not take away from the Canada-USA New Year's Eve World Junior Championship matchup.
A 19-game points streak that was snapped on Thursday night along with the fact that Perry is on pace for a career season in goals and points is giving the 24-year old Anaheim forward reason to believe he'll be representing his country for the first time since the 2004 World Junior Championships.
It's funny how geography works in hockey. If Perry were American, he'd have a spot guaranteed for him and be relied upon by USA head coach Ron Wilson to help supply the offense for Team USA. Being Canadian, Perry finds himself in a dogfight to make the Team Canada roster that could easily put two teams on the ice in Vancouver that would be considered medal contenders.
If Perry is to make Team Canada, it's very likely head coach Mike Babcock would keep him together with Ducks teammate Ryan Getzlaf(notes) on a line. Chemistry is crucial for success in a short tournament like the Olympics and as Perry told NHL.com's Josh Brewster, the Ducks duo could bring an instant familiarity to one of Team Canada's top lines:
"We came in together and pretty much have done everything together," Perry says, noting that the two are good friends off the ice. "There aren't too many games where we're not playing together and that's added to the chemistry. You get to know in the back of your mind where (Getzlaf) is going to be at certain points in the game."
With the NHL playing its last games before the Olympic break on February 14th and Team Canada opening the tournament two days later against Norway, there'll be little time for chemistry development before the tournament begins. If Team Canada is to win the gold medal in Vancouver, they'll need every edge they can get trying to fight off contenders like Russia and Sweden while dealing with the pressure of winning on home soil.