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Life of the Party

Laperriere brings toughness, personality to locker room

Wednesday, 09.2.2009 / 2:41 PM ET / News
By Kevin Kurz  - philadelphiaflyers.com
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Life of the Party
(Voorhees, NJ) – When the Flyers signed free-agent forward Ian Laperriere on July 1 to a three-year deal, a player who has spent the majority of his 16-year NHL career in the Western Conference, it was a move made with more than just goals and assists in mind.

After all, Laperriere’s 19 points (7g, 12a) in 74 games last season with Colorado didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard. It’s the other parts of his game, though, that were so attractive to general manager Paul Holmgren and the Flyers' brass.
Ian Laperriere was signed to a three-year contract by the Flyers on July 1, 2009. (Getty Images)

“[Laperriere] is a role player that can take a little bit of the burden off some of our other guys in other roles like penalty killing and face-offs,” said Holmgren at the time of the announcement. “He is a warrior-type player. He will provide us with lots of energy and is one of those types of character players that everybody is after.”

FlyersTV: Laperriere press conference

Spend even two minutes around Laperriere and it becomes evident that he is one of those people that are just plain fun to be around.

“You know, I’m pretty much…I get along with everybody. I’m French-Canadian, but I like everybody,” he joked. “It doesn’t matter if it’s Russian, Czech, Slovak, Finn; I’m known to get along with any language, even if my English is awful. Maybe that’s why those guys like to talk to me because they feel like they’re talking to one of their own without English (laughs).

“I just like to have fun, show up every day to work, and the guys appreciate that, I guess.”

While his good nature and wide smile are sure to keep things loose in the locker room, on the ice he can be the exact opposite if you’re his opponent or happen to take any liberties against his teammates. That’s when the “warrior,” as Holmgren described, is let loose.

“I’m not a heavyweight by any means, or the toughest guy in the league, but if I see something I don’t like, [or] someone takes advantage of my teammates, I’ll be one of the first ones here [to respond],” he said on Tuesday morning after an informal skate. “I might have to fight with some of my teammates to get there, but I hope to be the guy.”

Laperriere is referring to the overall team toughness that permeates throughout the club’s roster. In fact, just about every one of the Flyers’ offseason additions brings an edge to his game, including Laperriere, who has almost 1800 career penalty minutes.

He’s looking forward to being on a team that is difficult to play against in more ways than one.

“We just can’t get away from being team-tough,” he said. “It’s different to be team-tough than goon-tough, and we’ve got a bunch of guys who can fight but fight for the right reasons and fight at the right times. It’s a fine line.

“That’s our job as a team to understand that, and to become a tough team to play against.”

After signing with the Flyers, the 35-year-od right wing spent the majority of the summer in his native Montreal training and spending time with his wife and two boys. He came back on August 23rd to begin preparing for the season and to meet his new teammates.

He would like to forget the 2008-09 campaign as quickly as possible, as Colorado finished with the worst record in the Western Conference a year ago.

“It was the toughest year of my career,” said Laperriere. “It’s not fun to lose every night, you know. It was an awful year and I want to put that year behind me. I’m just look forward to [being on] a winning team.

“Last year [the Flyers] were successful, but not even close to where we want to be. Hopefully, I can be a little piece of the puzzle, and can help this team to achieve the ultimate goal: to win the Stanley Cup.”




1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48


J. Voracek 75 21 53 7 74
C. Giroux 74 22 46 1 68
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
M. Streit 75 9 36 -10 45
B. Schenn 75 14 25 -7 39
S. Couturier 75 13 17 1 30
M. Read 73 7 22 -7 29
M. Del Zotto 57 9 19 -5 28
M. Raffl 60 19 6 6 25
V. Lecavalier 51 7 11 -10 18
S. Mason 15 17 10 .926 2.25
R. Emery 10 10 6 .892 3.15
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