This past off-season, much was made of the Flyers acquisitions of Ray Emery and Chris Pronger. Emery, who had spent last season exiled in the KHL, was supposed to be the franchise cornerstone goaltender the Flyers had long sought after. Pronger, who was the centerpiece of the summer’s blockbuster trade, was brought in to bring leadership and add one of the league’s best defensemen to the Flyers’ blue-line. Since the season began, Pronger’s been the Flyers best defenseman all season long, while Emery has battled injuries and is set to spend the remainder of this season on the Injured Reserve.
However, while all the hoop-lah surrounded Pronger and Emery this off-season, there was one free-agent signing that drew minimal interest from the media, but has proved large for the Flyers down the stretch in the 2009-2010 season. Ian Laperriere, who signed a 3 year, 3.5 million dollar contract this summer, has been worth every penny and more for the Flyers throughout the course of this season. He’s supplied the Orange and Black with a consistent penalty-killer, who is a shot blocking fiend. He’s also supplied this team with at least one example of the heart, determination, and passion that an effective hockey player should display game in and game out.
While the Flyers have struggled to string consistent efforts of passion and hard work together all season, it hasn’t been for a lack of effort from Lappy. Laperriere hasn’t lit up the scoreboard this season, tallying 3 goals and 17 assists, but he wasn’t necessarily expected to be an offensive threat for the Orange and Black. Instead, it’s been the smaller things that Lappy has been so proficient in. He’s been a wizard when it comes to blocking shots, and really is an absolute pleasure to watch on the penalty kill. When #14 in a Flyers uniform is out there on the penalty kill, there is an odd sense of calmness that envelops Flyers fans. It’s not that it’s a guarantee no-goal, but there’s a strong chance that Lappy will play a key role in blocking many players’ shots from the point.
It’s about heart, it’s about desire, and it’s about the will to win. Most of all, It’s All About Lappy. Hopefully the Flyers can follow the 36 year old’s lead this weekend and lock up a berth in the playoffs.