Flyers' Laperriere admits he has considered retirement

Ian Laperriere says he is focused on getting better.
Ian Laperriere says he is focused on getting better.
Posted: October 07, 2010

Ian Laperriere will start the season on the injured list, and even the usually upbeat Flyers right winger conceded Wednesday that he has thought about retirement recently because of post-concussion problems.

But don't, Laperriere warned, count him out just yet.

"I'm not retiring now," Laperriere said in a phone conversation. "My main focus is getting better."

An NHL source said he didn't expect Laperriere to play this season. If he does not, it wouldn't be surprising if his 15-year career was over.

Asked if doctors recommended that he retire, Laperriere said, "They recommended I don't get hit in the head anymore. But with the way I play . . . "

Laperriere, 36, became the gritty, battered face of the Flyers' remarkable playoff run last season.

A penalty-killing specialist, Laperriere was struck by a puck above the right eye in Game 5 of the opening-round series against New Jersey. He suffered a concussion, a fractured orbital bone, and a brain contusion and missed a month before returning for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against Montreal. Laperriere played all six games of the Stanley Cup Finals against Chicago.

"I'm not going to lie. I've thought about it," Laperriere said about the possibility of retiring. "When you're not better after five months, you think about it."

Laperriere visited a Pittsburgh neurosurgeon Friday and said he was told he has nerve damage behind the eye from blocking the shot. He said a Philadelphia doctor concurred with that diagnosis this week.

The nerve damage has left him with blurred vision and gives him problems when he sees lights.

Said Laperriere, who led Flyers forwards with 74 blocked shots last season: "If I don't come back again, I don't regret anything I did. But my goal is still to get better."

- Sam Carchidi

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