Looks Like Flyers' Laperriere Will Play in Game 4
(from the Philadelphia Daily News)
By Frank Seravalli
Philadelphia Daily News
May 22, 2010 - MONTREAL - Ian Laperriere was born in Montreal. With his older cousins, he grew up skating on one of the 168 outdoor hockey rinks sprinkled around the city.
Four weeks and 1 day ago, Laperriere said it would take a "small miracle" for him to return to the ice this postseason after sustaining a concussion, a brain contusion and a fractured orbital bone, requiring 70 stitches to close the wound on his face from blocking a slap shot.
Today, Laperriere could rejoin his teammates for Game 4 for the first time since that freak injury on April 22 nearly stole his right eye.
Yesterday was the fifth time Laperriere skated since being cleared for contact by neurologists on Monday. He skated with his regular linemates, Darroll Powe and Blair Betts.
All signs and sources point to Laperriere playing today at the Bell Centre as the Flyers attempt to regain the two-game stranglehold they owned on this Eastern Conference final series just a few days ago. But as we know from the Eric Lindros saga, concussion conditions are always in flux.
Laperriere could wake up today and not feel the same, throwing off his recovery.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren released a statement saying both Laperriere and Jeff Carter - who has been out since April 20 with a fractured right foot - are "day-to-day."
Holmgren instructed both players not to address the media.
"I'm not looking, I'm not looking," Laperriere joked as he walked out of the Flyers' locker room yesterday after practice. "I know if I look, I'll talk to you guys."
Laperriere said earlier in the week that he would need clearance from all four neurologists monitoring him in order to return.
"I need to be 4-for-4," Laperriere said Monday. "What I want to hear is that it's going to take the same kind of shot or same impact for you to hurt yourself and start bleeding again. Then I'll be back in. Until then, I won't.
"If you're 80 percent and you do that with a knee or an elbow, that's fine. But not with my brain. I want to make sure I'm 100 percent. When you see me back, it's because I'm 100 percent and there won't be any doubts in my mind."
Undoubtedly, Laperriere's teammates want him back.
"We all know what he does on the ice," Danny Briere said. "He's tough to play against. He's a great penalty killer. He brings a lot of energy, finishes his checks. He's one of those guys that at the end of the night might not have a couple goals and couple assists, but he does a lot of little things right that helps out your team."
Laperriere is not stupid. He has made a career out of blocking shots and killing penalties. He said he would not return unless he is ready. Then again, this is Montreal, Laperriere's hometown. And it is the conference final.