Laperriere says he's with the Flyers to win
Ian Laperriere is at the point in his career where winning is the only goal. Fifteen years in the NHL have provided more than enough money but no rings, and when he became a free agent July 1, he hoped a Stanley Cup contender would call. And sure enough, one did - the Flyers.
Ian Laperriere is at the point in his career where winning is the only goal.
Fifteen years in the NHL have provided more than enough money but no rings, and when he became a free agent July 1, he hoped a Stanley Cup contender would call. And sure enough, one did - the Flyers.
"It's everything; winning's everything," the 35-year-old Montreal native said at a news conference yesterday. "I've played many years, a lot of games, but I don't have any bling bling to show for it. I told my agent, 'That's why I want to go there,' because they're right there."
Laperriere did not have to wait long. Before July 1 was over he agreed with the Flyers on a three-year deal worth $3.5 million. He has played for St. Louis, Los Angeles and Colorado in the Western Conference and spent part of one season with the New York Rangers.
The right winger, known for his aggressive play rather than scoring prowess, is among the better penalty killers in the league. Along with the trade for defenseman Chris Pronger, Laperriere's signing gives the Flyers a toughness absent in the team's gut-wrenching playoff loss to the eventual champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
"Ian's a player that I've coveted for a long time," said Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren, who called Laperriere a "character guy" upon signing him last week. "The best way I can sum up what he's going to bring to our team is he comes to play. I think the fans of Philadelphia are going to love his style of play and enthusiasm for the game."
Although Laperriere is known for the his fighting - he has 1,794 penalty minutes, many of them fighting majors, and just 118 goals in 1,001 career games - he said toughness did not simply mean more fights.
"Being a tougher team doesn't mean fighting all the time," he said. "Fighting is part of my game, and it's always going to be part of hockey, but being tough to play against is to show up every night. You look at Detroit, I think they don't have a guy who fights on that team, but they're tough to play against every night because you know they're coming to play. That's something you can't just talk about."
Mike Knuble and Joffrey Lupul, who scored 27 and 25 goals last season, departed this summer, so the Flyers will need to find offense elsewhere.
Last season for the Avalanche, Laperriere scored just seven goals to go with 12 assists. His career high is 21 goals (2005-06).
But Laperriere said his role as a penalty killer would make things easier for top scorers such as Jeff Carter and Mike Richards.
"When you overplay them it's more risky for injuries and stuff like that," he said. "Those two players play big minutes, and when you get guys like me who come out to take some time away from it, I'm sure they'll welcome that."