His absence did not go unnoticed. This led to salacious rumours about what went down between the New Liskeard, Ont.-born player and his team, which quickly gained traction on social media.
Then, on Tuesday, a startling revelation was made that Perry had been placed on waivers by the Blackhawks with the purpose of terminating his contract.
“After an internal investigation, the Chicago Blackhawks have determined that Corey Perry has engaged in conduct that is unacceptable, and in violation of both the terms of his contract and the Blackhawks’ internal policies intended to promote professional and safe work environments,” the statement read.
“As such, Corey Perry has been placed on unconditional waivers. In the event Mr. Perry clears waivers, we intend to terminate his contract effective immediately.”
The circumstances surrounding Perry’s alleged “unacceptable” conduct have not been made public. In the absence of more information, one unsubstantiated theory involving a teammate’s family member has gripped hockey fans.
In a Tuesday press conference, Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson slammed the rumour as “wildly inaccurate.”
Davidson characterized Perry’s case as an “individual personnel matter” and said he wouldn’t be able to disclose any information about the findings of the Blackhawks’ internal investigation.
“However, I do want to be very clear on this one point: this does not involve any player or their families, and anyone that suggests otherwise is wildly inaccurate and it’s frankly disgusting.”
Perry’s last game with the Blackhawks was on Nov. 19.
A week later, Davidson announced that Perry would not be returning to the bench for the “foreseeable future.”
Perry’s agent then released a statement saying his client had stepped away from the team due to a “personal matter.”
This was Perry’s first season with the Blackhawks after his negotiation rights were traded by the Tampa Bay Lightning in June.
Perry was a first-round draft pick in 2003 and played his first season with the Anaheim Ducks in 2005. He stayed with the Ducks for most of his career before signing with the Dallas Stars, Montreal Canadiens and then the Lightning.
He has scored 421 goals and acquired 892 points in his NHL career, spanning 19 seasons.