When Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said that Ian Laperriere was “out indefinitely” with post-concussion syndrome, it was hard to believe Lappy would ever suit up to play in the NHL again.
That hope took a giant blow on Wednesday when Laperriere disclosed that doctors have advised him to retire.
“It’s been almost six months since I was hit, and I don’t feel any better,” said Laperriere. “I’m not depressed, but there will be moments when the season starts that I wish I was there.”
Laperriere suffered the injury blocking a shot in Game 5 of the opening round against the New Jersey Devils, only to come back to play in the Stanley Cup Finals.
For the time being, the Flyers are going to keep Laperriere on injured reserve rather than placing him on long-term injury.
A Flyer for only one season, Lappy’s career appears to be over.
“In three months, I’ll be 37,” Laperriere said. “I’ve played the game a long time, and if it has to end this way, I have no regrets.”
Perhaps the Flyers second best penalty killer behind Blair Betts, Laperriere did everything he could possibility do to contribute to the team. Knowing he wasn’t the fastest, youngest, or the most skilled player, Lappy brought more to the game than scoring.
He blocked shots, hit, stood up for his teammates, fought, and led. Lappy was a warrior.
It wasn’t the number of block shots, though he led all Flyer forwards with 74 of them; it was the way he blocked the shots. He didn’t let the puck seek him; he was the seeker. Many times, Laperriere would throw his body at the puck.
And twice, he was hit in the face.
Against the Sabres in the regular season, Lappy took a puck to the face, went to the locker room to receive stitches, and would return with a full shield to play the third period.
If he is forced to call it quits, Laperriere’s presence on-and-off the ice will truly be missed by the Flyers.
Despite only being here for one year, Lappy was a leader of men who sacrificed his own body for the better of the team.
Laperriere was born to play for the Philadelphia Flyers. In fact, if you were to ask any old-timer what “Flyers hockey” is, they would tell you to watch Ian Laperriere.
You will be missed, Lappy.
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