LOS ANGELES — Prior to their game against the New Jersey Devils on October 30 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Kings honored former Kings defenseman and team captain Mattias Norstrom, who was a stalwart warrior on the Kings’ blue line for eleven seasons until he was traded to the Dallas Stars in a trade deadline deal on February 27, 2007.
Several of Norstrom’s former Kings teammates were present for the pre-game ceremony, including defensemen Rob Blake and Mathieu Schneider, forwards Derek Armstrong, Nelson Emerson, Glen Murray and Luc Robitaille, and goaltender Jamie Storr.
Another was forward Ian Laperriere, who was acquired by the Kings in the same deal with the New York Rangers that sent Norstrom to the Kings.
“[The ceremony was a] great thing for a great player, a great teammate,” said Laperriere, who was a fan favorite in Los Angeles and received a raucous ovation when he was introduced. “He’s been a friend for years. I’m just glad I was able to make it.”
Laperriere said that he played with very few players who could match Norstrom’s work ethic, dedication or intensity, and added that such players seem to be a dying breed.
“In today’s game, you see less and less of those guys,” Laperriere lamented. “They’re dinosaurs. I’m privileged to have been able to play a bunch of years with Matty.”
Although the night, even for Laperriere, was supposed to be focused on Norstrom, at least for a few minutes, the concern was for Laperriere’s health, well-being, not to mention his future.
Last season with the Philadelphia Flyers, he suffered a brain contusion, a fractured orbital bone above his right eye, and a concussion after blocking a shot with his face during the first round of the playoffs against the Devils.
He missed some games, but returned in the second round and played through the Stanley Cup finals, which he now says was a mistake.
“I got caught in the moment,” he said. “I kind of lied to myself to be part of that Stanley Cup run, and I was lucky enough not to get hit again.”
Laperriere sat out the Flyers’ 2010 training camp and is not at all close to being healthy enough to even consider returning to action.
“[I’m] not that close,” he explained. “The lights are what irritated me quite a bit. When you’re out there, that’s what it is, lights and movement, and that’s what I can’t deal with. Regular every day stuff—I’m fine with my kids at home…”
To read the full story, click on: Even With His Career In Jeopardy, Ian Laperriere’s Priorities Are Right On The Mark.
Raw Audio Interview with Ian Laperriere (4:13; edited to remove extraneous material and dead air)
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