Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Posted: 8:12 p.m. Updated: 9:02 p.m.
By Tim Panaccio
LAS VEGAS They were showing a video clip of Ian Laperriere blocking Paul Martins shot against the Devils in the 2010 playoffs.
Its a shot that even Lappy would tell has pretty much ended his career because of post-concussion syndrome.
No bitterness thats the way I play, Laperriere said after winning the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy Wednesday night at the annual NHL Awards competition at the Palms.
Thats the way I play. Thats who I am. Im proud of blocking shots every single game. Like I said, it took 16 years to get a puck to the face and it just so happened I took two that year.
I dont regret anything. Its too bad I still have symptoms from it, but I wouldnt change anything.
The Masterton is given by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Laperriere was nominated by the Philadelphia chapter of the PHWA.
The Flyers gritty 37-year-old forward missed the entire 2010-11 season suffering from post-concussion syndrome.
My kids are so excited, Laperriere said of the award. Plus, its the only way I could have ever won a trophy in the NHL. Get two pucks to the face.
Former L.A. Kings teammate Luc Robitaille gave him the trophy on stage.
I learned so much on how to be a professional through him, just to see him every day how he acted, the way he acted, Laperriere said of Robitaille. Just to be a regular guy. I cant thank him enough.
Tim Kerr was the last Flyer to win the Masterton for the 1988-89 season.
That long ago? Laperriere said. And to think I didnt even play a game this year. I joke about it, but from my 16 years in the NHL, it was recognition to be nominated first and then by winning it without even playing a game. Thats the ultimate compliment.
Laperrieres entire family and mother, Francine, attended the ceremonies.
My family, Im most proud of, he said. Ive been with my wife Magali 21 years and shes the backbone of my family. To have her here with my mom means the world to me.
Calgarys Daymond Langkow and Anaheims Ray Emery both former Flyers were the other, two Masterton finalists.
In his speech here Laperriere said, Its been a tough year. I wont lie to you. I love to do what I do. Playing hockey is my life. Its been a really, really tough year.
He thanked a number of Flyers for getting him through the year, as well as club chairman Ed Snider and general manager Paul Holmgren. Snider was in the audience.
Laperriere still has not announced his retirement and continues to assist the Flyers in the scouting department, working with prospects and minor leaguers.
I like working with younger players and always have, he said. Its something I want to do officially when I am done. Theyve given me the tools and the time and opportunity to help younger players. It helps the team and it helps myself to feel that I am keeping busy.
During this years playoffs, he worked out with the Black Aces those players who were healthy scratches on the playoff roster.
It was good just to be out there and transfer my experience with them, Laperriere said. They wanted me around. I felt a lot better skating than months before.
Laperriere also works out religiously and says, given this will be the final year of his contract, he still holds out a sliver of hope that he might return this season to the ice instead of going on long-term injury (LTIR).
His right eye has never fully recovered. Laperriere still experiences a flashing light sensation that often accompanies post-concussion syndrome. He also experiences blurriness.
The nerve in my eye, Im still struggling with, he said. Hopefully, I can find something. Im not desperate, but I am giving it another year to see if I can come back. That is my philosophy right now.
I stay in the best shape that I can and Im in pretty good shape right now. Ill see if my eye clears up and maybe I can play again.
On Tuesday, Laperriere admitted hes still not ready to play competitively.
I feel as though I am not as sharp as before and at the end of the day, Im 37 years old and if I am not as sharp, with those guys flying around, I am going to get killed, he said. For me to go back out Im going to need to be 100 percent.
He got a bit choked up Wednesday, as well.
Hockey is all I am passionate about, he said. I found something 32 years ago. I wont let it go that easily.
Indoor lighting remains such a factor, it was bothering Laperriere during the afternoon media gathering at one of the Palms ballrooms on Tuesday.
Just because my eyes dont work together, it bugs me more in the right eye, he said. And thats fine because I am not getting chased by anyone.
But here on the ice, if you got a light bugging you and I got the big guy over there, Zdeno Chara chasing me, then Im a dead man.
Laperriere had a chance to hang out with the other award winners for a few hours.
Its good I know most of those guys, he said. And the ones I dont know, I go and introduce myself. Im a pretty easy-going guy. Were all the same. Were hockey players.
Bobby Clarke was the first Flyer to win the Masterton in 1971-72.
Incidentally, Laperriere once won Father of the Year for 2008 in Colorado as voted by the American Diabetes Association.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @TPanotchCSN.
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