The Philadelphia Flyers' Ian Laperriere is one of the more engaging folk in the NHL, funny, warm, and all energy on the ice, where he is roughly as hard as a post-doctoral math exam.
But after 16 seasons in the show, it looks like it's the end of the road for the nearly toothless guy from Montreal. Actually, the end likely came when he slid in front of a Paul Martin slapper in the playoffs and took the puck square in the face.
Amazingly, Laperriere was able to come back, and saw action in his first Stanley Cup final (even losing couldn't change the fact he saw it as a career highlight).
But Laperriere is still suffering from post-concussion fallout, as he was in the playoffs, when he fibbed about his condition so he could get back in uniform. And so, he waits for a day he admits likely won't come, when he's cleared to play again.
"It's too bad, but at the same time, it's not like I was 22 and at the begining of my career. As it is, I tell myself I've had a very eventful career and whatever happens will happen," he told La Presse.
Because of the vagaries of the salary cap era, the 36-year-old won't retire just yet. He has two seasons to run on a contract that pays him $1.2 million per year. Because he was 35 when he signed the three-year pact, his salary would count against the cap even if he were to retire. And so he will likely go on long-term injury reserve, which allows the team to exceed the cap in order to replace him.
"Don't expect to see him back," the Habs' Mathieu Darche, a close friend and off-ice training partner of Laperriere's said to us last week. "And it's a real shame, there aren't enough guys like him left in hockey."