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Getzlaf and Perry friends since helping Canada win 2005 world junior title

Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry helped end Canada's eight-year title drought in 2005. The friendship between the two forwards drafted by the Anaheim Ducks two years earlier was forged.

"From that point on, we knew we were going to be together for awhile," says Perry. "It's just one of those things where you get to know somebody the same age and you go through the same experiences.

"When you do that, you become close friends."

Getzlaf, who grew up in Regina, turned 22 on Thursday and went out for dinner with a group of other Ducks.

Perry is from Peterborough, Ont., and turns 22 next Wednesday.

Both were major junior stars - Getzlaf with the WHL's Calgary Hitmen and Perry with the OHL's London Knights.

They skate on the Ducks' No. 2 attacking unit with Justin Penner, 24, who was cut from his hometown Winkler, Man., midget and junior teams. He went off to play college hockey for the Maine Black Bears to get noticed, and everybody notices him now.

Getzlaf is a rough-and-tumble playmaker. Veteran teammate Teemu Selanne says the six-foot-four, 215-pound centre could become the best all-around player in the sport.

Perry is six foot three and 205 pounds and Penner is a six-foot-four, 245-pound force.

"We've got three guys on the line that play three different styles," said Perry. "We seem to click.

"We bring a lot of energy and try to bang bodies."

The trio scored seven goals and amassed 17 points in the first two rounds of the playoffs. During the regular season, the three scored a total of 71 goals.

Perry, Penner and Getzlaf form what has been nicknamed the PPG Line, which is a play on the first letters of their surnames and also a short form for points per game.

Getzlaf and Perry spent most of their free days last season in pursuit of mutual recreational enjoyment - they even tried surfing - but haven't chummed around as much away from the rink this season because Getzlaf moved into a new home a good 20-minute drive from Perry.

Twelve players who were on Canada's 2005 world junior team were full-time NHLers this season.

Of the forwards, Getzlaf and Perry are with the Ducks, there's league scoring champion Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in Philadelphia, Patrice Bergeron in Boston and Andrew Ladd with Carolina.

Getzlaf was on a line with Carter and Ladd during the 2005 tournament. Perry, who was added to the roster when Jeremy Colliton went down with a knee injury, skated on the first line with Crosby and Bergeron.

Of the defencemen, Dion Phaneuf is a star in Calgary, Shea Weber is in Nashville, Brent Seabrooke and Cam Barker are in Chicago and Braydon Coburn is in Philadelphia.

"There's a lot of guys from that (2005) team that are great players and who are going to be good players in this league for a long time," said Perry. "It's just a matter of time before more of them wind up in the NHL full-time."

The world junior experience "was huge" to Perry.

"It was a big stepping stone," he said. "You dream of playing for Canada and you remember every single guy from that team.

"You're going to cherish those memories forever."

Getzlaf and Perry first played on the same team in 2003 when they were in Don Cherry's lineup for the annual Top Prospects game.

"He was a tall, lanky guy who was only about 165 pounds," said Getzlaf. "He's a lot bigger since then.

"He's rounded his game off a lot more, too. He had tremendous skill back then but he rounded off his game with London and learned to compete in those dirty areas."

After the 2005 world junior tournament, they finished their junior seasons and moved up to the AHL to be teammates during the first two months of their first pro season, 2005-2006, with Anaheim's AHL farm team in Portland, Maine. They were soon promoted and were too good to send back.



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