Pulling Teeth: Laperriere Plays Through Injury
By Tim Panaccio
November 28, 2009 - ATLANTA - Ian Laperriere has come home before looking bloodied and banged up.
But never looking as bad as he did Saturday afternoon, when he let his wife and two sons see him on his iPhone from Atlanta, where the Flyers are playing the Thrashers.
Laperriere lost 7 teeth in all, he said, after being struck in the mouth with a shot (close to 30 feet) from Buffalo's Jason Pominville late in the first period of a 4-2 loss on Black Friday.
"She's seen bad stuff on my face but not … I've been with her 20 years," Mumbles said of his wife. "She's seen every scar I got. For my sons today, we had the iChat so we could talk together. See each other, too.
"My oldest one was kinda shocked. My youngest thought it was funny. I got a boo-boo. He's 5-years-old. The 7-year-old knew something was wrong with daddy. He understands more."
Incredibly, Laperriere returned to the Buffalo game in the third period. He took between 50-100 stitches to the top, bottom and inside of his lips, and leading to the bridge of his nose.
Laperriere does not wear a shield, but that would not have prevented him getting hit in the mouth during that Sabres' power play.
"I'm playing tonight," Laperriere said before the Thrashers game, admitting he is not going to use a painkiller because it would dope him up. He is taking antibiotics to ward off infection and will wear a full cage until it heals.
He blames himself for the injury, which happened between the circles.
"It's my fault," he said. "The worst thing about the incident is that I am mad at myself. I shouldn't go down like that. I didn't know it was [high shot]. If it was closer [to the ice], that's fine. I take pride in blocking shots sometimes, but that's stupid."
As for the stitch total, he said the medical team stopped counting after 50.
"It was nasty," he said, adding he lost two fake teeth and four actual teeth. "I block shots every game, but that one, my timing was off. I thought [the shot] was lower."
He said had he been closer to Pominville, the shot would not have risen as much.
Although he said he didn't feel any pain Friday night because the wound was "frozen," Laperriere said he was in considerable pain all of Saturday.
The medical staff said he could not play unless he ate. So, Laperriere ate some salmon.
"Chicken is harder," he said.
Flyers coach John Stevens was impressed with Laperriere's fortitude.
"It's unbelievable," he said. "It's the first time I've seen players concerned about a guy coming back to play. Usually, everyone wants guys to come back and play. Lappy, there was no question is his mind he was going to come back and play. You can just tell. It kills him when he can't help his team ... It's a clear indication of the character and will he has to play the game."
E-mail Tim Panaccio at firstname.lastname@example.org