Overcoming the loss of Simon Gagne’s defensive swagger, Jeff Carter’s team-leading scoring streaks and Ian Laperriere’s effort, won’t be easy when the Flyers take on the sixth-seed Boston Bruins in a second-round match up set to begin on Saturday in Bean Town.
But with some line changes and the insertion of certain black aces, the Flyers can only hope to manage the drop off as best they can.
When Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren made the announcement that forward Ian Laperriere was expected to be in the lineup when the Flyers began the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, a sigh of relief came sweeping over the city of Philadelphia.
But an old enemy has emerged.
Chris Pronger made his presence felt in a big way during his first season with the Flyers — and the team awarded him accordingly. The 16-year veteran took home the Bobby Clarke Award as the Flyers’ most valuable player. He also snagged the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the team’s top defensemen.
Pronger is coming off one of the best statistical seasons of his career by tallying 10 goals and 45 assists in 81 games. He also leads the team in plus/minus with a plus-22 rating.
During Sean Avery’s lone dismantling of the Flyers on Sunday, in which the truculent Rangers’ forward scored two goals and was able to draw three penalties in his team’s 3-1 victory, many noticed him sitting alone on the end of the bench. Not talking to or sitting in proximity of anyone on his team other than a trainer to his right, it appeared as though Avery was in self isolation.
Well, Flyers’ forward Ian Laperriere gave his thoughts to the NY Daily News as to why that might be.
“Those people are getting fooled by his act,” said Laperriere, who was a teammate of Avery in Los Angeles from 2002-04. “I know he is the worst teammate I’ve played with. And I know (the Rangers) feel the same way. That’s all I’m going to say.”
The Flyers face the Rangers twice more in the final two games of the season.
Amid offensive inconsistency the past two games, in which the Flyers have only scored a total of four goals, coach John Stevens has mixed up the lines once again in an attempt to capture some depth production.
“It’s more because of lack of production,” said Stevens. “We had a three lines before that could all score and a fourth that could chip in and we liked the feel of it better.”
Ian Laperriere had a number of teams asking for his services. But when the Flyers called, he knew that was it.
“When Philly called, I won’t lie to you guys, I got very excited,” said Laperriere during a conference call. ” My agent said ‘they’re interested in you,’ and I said ‘well, I’m interested in them.'”
Known as one of the toughest guys in the league, Laperriere made his bones in the NHL by hard work and grit. He is in essence, a prototypical Flyer. Not the most skilled guy in the league, he excelled in his 17-year career by being a leader and hating to lose. Two things the Flyers desperately lacked last season.
According to a report from The Fourth Period, the Flyers have come to terms with former Avalanche right winger Ian Laperriere. The deal is worth three years, $3.5 million.
Laperriere can play center, but is known best for playing the right wing. The 35-year old veteran is known mostly for his grit, scoring just seven goals and 12 assists in 72 games with the Avs last season. However, he racked up 163 penalty minutes during that time. He will either take over Mike Knuble’s winger spot, or man the third-line center position.
“Going through the year we had, I’m sure looking for a change in Philly,” Lapperriere told the media. “I don’t take losses easily and I’m sure a bunch of those guys don’t either.”
Laperriere plays a grinding, hard-working style that has earned him respect around the league. Despite just being 6’1, he plays a big style and crashes the net with force. He will likely man the third line and be another leader in the locker room for the orange and black .