Ryan Reaves přicházel v létě do Toronta s jasným úkolem. Dát týmu řád a vzbudit respekt a strach u soupeře. Zkušený útočník totiž dlouhodobě patří k nejtvrdším hráčům v lize, který nejde pro ránu daleko. Ránu sice neschytal Corey Perry, ale dost možná se k tomu schyluje.

In general, the game between Toronto and Chicago, in which Perry plays, was heated. Days in advance, there was talk of Auston Matthews meeting Connor Bedard. And when they did meet, the Blackhawks came out on top, winning.

That’s also why Reaves tried to throw off Chicago with a physical game. He got into a fight especially with Perry, with whom he pushed several times and exchanged a few sharp words.

It was no accident. On the contrary. As it turns out, Reaves isn’t a big fan of the player who scored Chicago’s winning goal.

The 36-year-old Reaves said that he started to dislike the 38-year-old Perry during the first game they played against each other at the beginning of the last decade.

Why? “Just the way he lets his mouth go for a walk. He tries to act tough, but he’s not really tough at all,” Reaves said.

They will probably decide it among themselves – and this will be no exception. Of course, Reaves is known for the aforementioned. In 831 career games, he collected 129 points and 1,033 penalty minutes.

Perry was much more productive (887 points), but he was never a saint. He even spent 1,382 minutes in 1,261 matches on the penalty bench. In addition, he has the Hart Trophy and the Stanley Cup, and is also an Olympic champion.

None of that will change Reaves’ mind, though.

“Honestly, I never liked him,” he said. “Every time we run into each other, we’re against each other in games, we meet on the ice. I don’t have much love for him.”

So will hand-to-hand combat handle it? Asked if Perry would ever drop the gloves with him, Reaves said, “Definitely not.”

Both already have the Nov. 24 date circled when the Leafs and Blackhawks meet again.