Ian Laperierre, the gritty right winger who helped the Flyers advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals, will probably miss the remainder of the playoffs, GM Paul Holmgren said on Tuesday.
Injured blocking a shot above his right eye in Thursday's series-clinching 3-0 win in New Jersey, Laperriere has a contusion of the brain and a mild concussion, Holmgren said. His eyesight has returned to normal, the GM said.
Below is a transcript of the conference call with Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren regarding an injury update of Laperriere:
Q: Paul, any update on Ian Laperriere?
“After seeing a couple different doctors both in Philadelphia yesterday and a specialist in Pittsburgh today, we’ve come to the understanding that Ian has a contusion of the brain, mild concussion and right now we’re going to list him as being out indefinitely.”
Q: Did the doctor say it’s dangerous to play the rest of the year?
“I think this is significant. They saw a little spot there initially and I think they were hoping, like we all were, that it would dissipate a little bit, but after seeing the doctor yesterday and validating it again today – it kind of erased any optimism we had. Right now it’s not safe for Ian to play.”
Q: Paul is his vision still blurry today as you indicated yesterday?
“No. I think that cleared up even more today. I don’t think that was a factor at all. This is just a brain injury obviously and I think we all need to take a step back here.”
Q: Can you clarify out indefinitely. Is he out for the rest of this playoff run?
“They’ll be a point in time, probably in four weeks, where we will give him another CAT scan and see what’s going on. At that time maybe we can re-adjust, but that’s a long ways off. That’s four weeks and probably not doing a whole lot… and what’s it take for him to get back into shape and that type of thing, so its’ pretty safe to say that he’s out indefinitely is probably for the remainder of the season.”
Q: Was there any other sign that he experienced, any other symptoms that led you to think this might be…
“No. Nothing really. I even asked the doctor today, [Because I knew this was going to come up from one of you guys about a concussion]. First he said no, he didn’t have a concussion but then he kind of back tracked and said ‘Well its safe to say that he’s got a mild concussion’ so Ian felt… obviously the blurred vision scared him. The no vision scared him right away and then over the next day or so I think his eye started to clear up. I don’t think that was an issue. When I talked to him on Saturday he kind of said ‘You know, I just don’t feel right’ and that led me to believe that there’s something else going on, but it was really just the one spot that showed up on a CAT scan that I think the doctors and all of us were hoping that it would go away and its just at the point now, where it’s not and we just need to shut him down.”
Q: Where did the spot show up on the CAT scan?
“Right there on the frontal part… probably right at the point of the injury.”
Q: Is surgery a possibility at all?
“No… They think over time it will dissipate.”
Q: Do you have someone on the roster you’ll use in his place?
“Well, we tried a couple different guys in practice. It’s hard to replace Ian and what he does, particularly on the penalty kill. He’s a heart-and-soul guy on our hockey team and it’s hard to replace that. I would think the penalty kill role that Darroll Powe and Claude Giroux and perhaps even Scott Hartnell will get more involved now. Some of the young guys who have killed penalties in the minor leagues like Kalinski and Nodl and players like that are certainly guys we can look at too. But from a fourth-line checking role to a penalty kill role, those are big shoes to fill.”
Q: Is it even more painful to see him going out knowing what he’s given this team?
“Those are hard shoes to fill because of what he does. He’s a leader in our locker room and he knows what it takes this time of year. He’s respected by everybody in our organization. You take a guy like that out of your lineup, it’s a problem. So we’re going to have to rally around it now and guys are going to have to step up big time.”
Q: What was Ian’s reaction?
“I didn’t get a chance to talk to Ian when he left, they were just leaving the doctor in Pittsburgh when I found out about an hour ago. But I’m sure it was similar to mine, something you can’t print.”
Q: Who was the doctor?
“Joseph Maroon. He’s the chief neurosurgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Hospital.” (www.josephmaroon.com)