Over the years, he’s been one of the best people to talk with – in a sport widely consdiered to already have the most honest athletes. Ian Laperriere was never a superstar in the NHL, but he was loved everywhere he went. And he remains one of the most popular players in recent memory with the Kings, Avalanche and Flyers. Both fans and teammates light up when talking about him. Yet there’s nothing quite like a conversation with the man everyone simply calls ‘Lappy.’ He’ll tell you exactly what he thinks, while simultaneously motivating you to the point you’d run through a wall for him. So, it’s no wonder the Flyers moved him into an assistant coaching role earlier this season.
An unofficial MayorsManor correspondent over the past few years, we reconnected on Friday following the team’s practice at TSC. While it was weird seeing him on the ice running practice in orange and black, once we were back in the locker room area it was the same old Lappy as always – a huge smile, an authentic hand shake and a super thick accent… with lots of laughs the entire time. Here’s some of what we talked about:
On what it means for him to be back in L.A., this time in a different role as an assistant coach:
“It’s the same. I really had a great time here and I always say the same answer because I really believe in it. I spent nine years of my life here. As a young, twenty two year old guy who moved to L.A. It was great. Just driving around again, I have great memories. Guys are teasing me about the pictures everywhere [hanging in the Kings’ practice facility], but it’s good. Half of those guys weren’t even born, they were kids, they didn’t even watch that game when I played here. It’s always good to be back.”
On Wayne Simmonds, who was probably five when Lappy started playing:
“Yeah, when I started, he wasn’t that much older than that. [lots of laughs] Listen, he’s great. He works hard. He plays the game the right way. There’s a lot to like about a guy like that. He shows up every night and I just try to help him a little bit.”
On the Kings’ recent scoring woes:
“They have their own problems. We do too, we have our own problems right now. I don’t have time to worry about the other teams, I worry about my team. They do have a lot of skill. They know how to win and I’m sure they’ll get back on track.”
On the western style of play versus the eastern style of play and if it’s still an issue in the league:
“I don’t know. I’m sure that some teams… We had a very successful trip a couple of weeks ago: Colorado, Calgary, Edmonton and all that trip. It depends. Some teams struggle in the west, I don’t know why. The time change or anything. But if we play like we played (Thursday) night, we’ll have a successful trip. They’re the same players, at the end of the day. They’re all NHL players, you just have to play the game. Some teams struggle in the west and hopefully we won’t be one of those teams.”
On his transition to being an assistant coach:
“It’s great, you know. That’s what I wanted to do four years ago when I met with Paul Holmgren. When he gave me the opportunity, I jumped at it. It’s something that myself, I bring my experience on board and I try to help those guys become better individually and as a team get better. It’s good. It’s a lot of, the first couple of games on the bench were fast. As a player, you worry about yourself, but as a coach, you’ve got to worry about twenty three guys. It was faster, but now I’m a little bit more. I’ve got two great guys, well more than two, four great guys to learn from. Berube and John Paddock have tons of experience as coaches and I learn from two good guys. I’m just at school right now. I’m learning.”
On if the lights are bothering him, post concussion:
“It’s fine. I just have blurry vision still, but I don’t have headaches or anything like that anymore, which is good.”
So Luc looks better now?
“No, I can still see his gray hair!”
5 MUST-READ STORIES:
MM Podcast with Laperriere – So, what does he really think of Sean Avery?
Flyers’ Ian Laperriere on the newest King, Jeff Carter
Flyers Ian Laperriere on Mike Richards vs. Chris Pronger
Ian Laperriere on Megan Fox, today’s concussions and the Kings
Throwback Thursdays – Kings v Flyers’ primer with toughest man on the planet, Dave Schultz
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