Welcome to the Official Site of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Facebook of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Twitter of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Instagram of the Philadelphia Flyers Official LinkedIn of the Philadelphia Flyers Official DeskSite of the Philadelphia Flyers Flyer Wire
  • RSS

Laperriere Willing to Trade Pain for Victory

Friday, 04.23.2010 / 10:59 AM ET / News
By Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com
Share with your Friends

Laperriere Willing to Trade Pain for Victory
(Newark, NJ) - There's just one thing that motivates Philadelphia Flyers forward Ian Laperriere more then wins, and that's sacrifice.

It's contagious, too. Particularly when you consider the Flyers needed one win to advance past the New Jersey Devils in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Thursday night before an energized crowd at Prudential Center.

Laperriere interview: Part 1 | Part 2 | Watch the play

There's absolutely nothing Laperriere won't do to help his team to victory. He proved that in the regular season and again Thursday in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals when the Flyers rolled to a 3-0 series-clinching victory.
Ian Laperriere of the Philadelphia Flyers is helped by linesman Brad Kovachik after Laperriere was hit in the face by a shot against the New Jersey Devils. (Getty Images)

Laperriere is a hockey warrior. At 36 years and 3 months, he's the oldest player on the Flyers' roster, and it shows from the battle scars that mar his face. He could tell you how each scratch got there, too, but there's really no need.

"A good-looking guy like Lappy? Sometimes blocking one with your face is what it takes," Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger said with a grin. "The guys see that on the bench and that only makes them want to push harder, to sacrifice more, because they're watching guys do stuff like that."

With his team down two injured players in Simon Gagne and Jeff Carter, coach Peter Laviolette challenged others to elevate their game. Laperriere, doing what he does best, was happy to oblige. In the process, he set the bar for his teammates and those 17,625 in attendance -- showing exactly the type of effort required this time of year.

The Flyers were up 3-0 but in the midst of killing off yet another Devils power play when Laperriere decided to step in front of a slap shot by defenseman Paul Martin three minutes into the third period. By the time he realized he had slid too early, the puck slammed into his forehead at top speed, opening his face to the point where a trail of blood followed him as he skated blindly on the ice before getting medical attention.

"When I grabbed (athletic trainer) Jimmy (McCrossin), I asked him if my eye was still there," Laperriere told reporters after taking between 60-70 stitches along his right eyebrow. "He said 'Yeah, there was just so much blood.' I was a little bit in panic mode, I couldn't see out of my right eye. It's one thing to see, but when you don't see anything, you kind of panic. But after laying on the medical table for two minutes once I got inside, I started to see shadows and then everything came back to normal."

It marked the second time in six months that Laperriere had taken a shot to the face. It was during a penalty-killing situation in November against the Buffalo Sabres that a Jason Pominville slap shot to the mouth resulted in 70 stitches and seven lost teeth. It would be one of 74 blocks on the season for Laperriere.

He blocked six shots in five playoff games against the Devils.

"It was scary," Flyers forward Daniel Carcillo said of Laperriere's injury Thursday. "I've never seen someone sacrifice their body the way he does, in this League or anywhere, for that matter. It's pretty amazing. You never want to see anything like that happen. I saw him asking (if his eye was still there). He's been doing it all year. He's always the guy that we could look to for blocking shots and sacrificing. You want to have the courage to be able to do what he does."

"That's the way you win playoff series," Laperriere said. "It's all about sacrifice. You need to block shots and need to do what it takes. I'm proud of everyone in this room, and in the next series we're going to have to sacrifice even more. I know everyone is looking forward to the next series."

Laperriere knows he's at a crossroads in his career. He ranks among the League's top shot blockers each season among forwards and knows it's a risky proposition. When he spoke to reporters looking Frankenstein-esque on Thursday, you could tell the thing that upset him most was the fact he's finally learning the risk might not be worth the anguish he puts his family through.

"I want to see my children grow up with both of my eyes," Laperriere said. "You want to block shots but you don't want to block shots with your face."

All the more reason why we'll finally see a shield attached to the helmet the next time he takes to the ice.

"I made a stupid mistake again and I'll wear (a shield) for the rest of my career now," he said. "I don't care anymore. I'll continue to fight -- I'll still take off my helmet. It's just that stupid macho thing in my head, and (Thursday) made me realize I've got to smarten up. I have to think about my family more anything else."

He was one of several players exhibiting sacrifice at a time when Philadelphia needed to come up big in the absence of a few star-studded players.
I've never seen someone sacrifice their body the way he does, in this League or anywhere, for that matter. It's pretty amazing." - Daniel Carcillo on Ian Laperriere

"The amount of shots that we blocked in this series and the guys -- I'll guarantee you that Lappy (Laperriere) would have been back on the bench if they could have gotten him stitched up in time," Laviolette said. "He and (Blair) Betts, all of them, but he and Betts do such a tremendous job. They're the front line of those blocks, with (Mike) Richards and (Simon) Gagne."

Flyers goalie Brian Boucher, who earned his second career playoff shutout on 28 saves in Game 5, is extremely grateful to have players like Laperriere on his side. The Flyers totaled 85 blocked shots in the series.

"You don't win without guys paying the price," Boucher said. "The ultimate sacrifice you can make for the team is blocking shots and it's the only reason we're moving on to the second round. I hope Lappy is OK. The guy is an absolute warrior and he takes so much pride in killing penalties and blocking shots. Without him and guys like Blair Betts, we wouldn't be going to the second round -- we'd be done."




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


C. Giroux 78 22 45 -8 67
W. Simmonds 81 32 28 -7 60
B. Schenn 80 26 33 3 59
J. Voracek 73 11 44 -5 55
S. Gostisbehere 64 17 29 8 46
S. Couturier 63 11 28 8 39
M. Raffl 82 13 18 9 31
M. Read 79 11 15 -5 26
M. Streit 62 6 17 -1 23
S. Laughton 71 7 14 -2 21
S. Mason 23 19 10 .918 2.51
M. Neuvirth 18 8 4 .924 2.27
Privacy Policy | AdChoices | California Privacy Rights | Contact Us | Advertise Employment | NHL.com Terms of Use

Philadelphiaflyers.com is the official Web site of the Philadelphia Flyers. Philadelphia Flyers and philadelphiaflyers.com are trademarks of Philadelphia Flyers, L.P. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Philadelphia Flyers, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.