Oilers’ Perlini: 5 Things We Learned From His HNIC Interview

Oil Country is falling in love with Brendan Perlini. The Edmonton Oilers forward’s positive outlook has resonated with fans, who got their first real glimpse into the mindset of the 25-year-old last week when his philosophical takes on life and hockey went viral.

On Saturday (Jan. 22), after scoring a goal during Edmonton’s 5-3 victory over Calgary Flames on Hockey Night in Canada, Perlini’s coming-out party continued with an appearance as the featured guest on Sportsnet’s After Hours.

Chatting with hosts Scott Oake and Louie DeBrusk and taking questions submitted by viewers, the refreshingly candid but unfailingly affable Perlini revealed more about what makes him tick, sharing the experiences that have shaped him into one of the most fascinating, inspiring, and likable players to wear Oilers silks in a very long time.

Here are five of the most notable things from the interview that was learned about Perlini, whose popularity with Edmonton fans is growing by the day.

Perlini is Very Competitive

Don’t let the Zen-like perspective and sunny disposition fool you. Perlini says that’s not because he lacks fire but because it burns so hot.

Brendan Perlini Edmonton Oilers
Brendan Perlini, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

“Sometimes you take the game so hard,” he explained. “I’m so competitive, and a lot of times when we don’t win, or I don’t score, I take it to heart.

“A lot of times, in the media, when people see I’m talking about the law of attraction (the belief that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person’s life) and it’s not the be-all-end-all, they think, oh he’s not competitive, or he doesn’t care about the game,” Perlini continued.

“In fact, I care so much that I have to relieve myself mentally. Some guys can be all-in on hockey 24-7, but for me, I have to take a step away from the rink, live life too, and then that’s when I play my best.”

Perlini Trained with Hamilton & Reece

Coming off a tough 2019-20 season, in which he scored just one goal in 40 games split between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings, Perlini was doing some deep soul searching and wanted to switch up his training. He received an invite to attend XPT Training from the innovative mental and physical program’s co-founders, surfing icon Laird Hamilton and beach volleyball great Gabby Reece.

It turned out to be a transformative experience for Perlini. While there, the hockey forward struck up a friendship with a Navy Seal, whom Perlini has previously discussed as a great motivation source.

“I met him out there and a bunch of other people, and I’ve created a lot of good positive energy and a lot of good people around me where I can bounce things off of guys like him or Laid and Gabby,” Perlini said. “So training-wise, everything has been very good, and I really try to stay on top of those things. I’m really into diet and stuff like that too, it’s kind of really non-stop with me.”

Tippett Brought Perlini to Edmonton

The Oilers’ signing of Perlini to a one-year, two-way deal last August came somewhat out of the blue. The 6-foot-3 winger was off most observers’ radar, having spent the 2020-21 season in Switzerland’s National League, and his name didn’t come up among players rumored to be on their way to Edmonton.

Perlini divulged on After Hours that the wheels started turning when he met Oilers coach Dave Tippett last summer in Phoenix, Arizona, where Tippett makes a home and Perlini trains during the offseason.

Dave Tippett Seattle
Dave Tippett (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

There’s a history between the two: Tippett was head coach of the Arizona Coyotes in 2014 when the ‘Yotes drafted Perlini and stood behind the bench for Perlini’s first NHL season, 2016-17 with Arizona.

Perlini said he’d been talking to a few teams before deciding to join his former coach. “We met up and thought it would be a good fit, and he thought there was an opportunity here for me.”

Perlini’s Grandfather is Esposito’s GOAT

Most are familiar with Brendan’s father, Fred. An eighth-round pick in the 1980 NHL Draft, Fred appeared in eight games with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the early 1980s and racked up more than 1,400 points playing pro in Britain, where Brendan was born and lived for several years.

But few know about Fred, Sr. (aka “Fox”), Brendan’s grandfather, who was a local hockey legend in his native Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Even Brendan didn’t fully realize Fox’s impact until he played in Chicago and had a chance encounter with another Sault Ste. Marie product of some renown. It happened at United Center in April 2019 during a pre-game ceremony honoring brothers Phil and Tony Esposito, Hockey Hall of Famers, that played for the Blackhawks.

“Phil Esposito comes over to me on the bench and says, ‘Hey, you’re that Perlini kid, right?” Perlini recalled. “I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Your grandfather is the greatest player I ever saw play hockey, and I was like, holy cow.”

No Screen Time for Perlini

Perlini is going “screenless” this month, but it has nothing to do with not going to the front of the net: “No TV, no YouTube steams, no social media, any of that stuff,” he explained.

He was inspired to go without screen viewing after listening to a podcast hosted by Jay Shetty, a former Hindu monk who is now an author and life coach.

“It was around Christmas, I said, ‘You know what, I need something a little different,” Perlini told the hosts on After Hours. “I’ve had books piling up, so I said, ‘You know what, I’m going to ax all that and see how I do. So far, it’s been good. I’m probably going to keep going longer than January, and we’ll see if I can do it the whole year.”

Perlini might be on to something: he’s got three goals in four games this month; in 2021, he scored just once scored once in 16 regular-season games with the Oilers.

Related Link: Oilers: 4 Things You Didn’t Know About Brendan Perlini

If he can continue scoring at his recent pace, Perlini is only going to endear himself more to Oilers fans. He’ll look to keep it up Tuesday (Jan. 25) when the Oilers are back in action, on the road against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.

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