As it turns out, it took a speeding puck, some adhesive glue, about six dozen stitches, two doctors and, probably, a straitjacket -- but it appears that the Flyers' Ian Laperriere is out for the rest of the playoffs with a brain contusion and a mild concussion.
This quote, from general manager Paul Holmgren, comes via the Flyers' website:
“After seeing a couple different doctors in Philadelphia [Monday] and in Pittsburgh today, we’ve come to the understanding that Ian has a contusion of the brain and a mild concussion.”
Holmgren continued, “I think this is significant. They saw a spot there [on his brain] initially, and I think they were hoping, like we all were, that it would dissipate a little bit. Right now, it’s not safe for him to play.”
There was a time, several years ago, when he would have played because that is the kind of player Laperriere is. We can all be thankful that we all know more and understand more about brain trauma today (and that is acknowledging how little we still know, and how cavalier some players and teams can still be about the subject).
Laperriere was injured while blocking a shot in the Flyers' series-clinching victory over New Jersey last week. His busted-up face became the face of the team and its upset victory in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The hopeful words in the days following the injury just fueled the storyline and cemented the image of the kind of player that Philadelphia has always embraced.
Now, this. The brain is nothing to fool around with and anyone who does anything but applaud the decision to take this seriously really isn't thinking. Holmgren said Laperriere will undergo another CT-scan in 4 weeks, but you have to think that this is the end of his season.
So what that means is that the Flyers will head into the next round of the playoffs without their top scorer, Jeff Carter, as well as Laperriere, their most fanatical shot blocker and part of one of the best penalty-killing tandems in the business (along with Blair Betts). Oh, and then there is the matter of Simon Gagne, an excellent two-way forward, who might or might not be back from surgery to repair a broken toe by about Game 3.
That it all just got harder for the Flyers goes without saying. But the hardest thing of all might just be the prospect of watching Laperriere have to watch.