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Laperriere back on ice, but return remains doubtful

by Mike G. Morreale /
PHILADELPHIA  -- Flyers forward Ian Laperriere might be sidelined for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but that doesn't mean he won't have a profound impact on his teammates.

Laperriere, who has been out since being diagnosed with a brain contusion after taking a shot above his right eye in the late stages of Game 5 of the first-round series against the New Jersey Devils, skated with the team for the second-straight day Sunday. He wore a yellow jersey and is restricted from any contact, however.

"We don't really comment on injuries and time frames since all that comes from (General Manager) Paul Holmgren, but I can tell you that 'Lappy' is an infectious guy," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "He's someone that I think everyone enjoys having around in the locker room. He's a great hockey player and a better person, so those are the people you want in your locker room. Especially this time of the year."

Laviolette had Laperriere working out with center Mike Richards and Daniel Carcillo during the morning skate since usual linemate Simon Gagne skipped the full practice session. Gagne, incidentally, is fine and will be in the lineup for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Montreal Canadiens Sunday (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS).

Laperriere appeared raring to go. But he knows this injury is considerably more serious than any other he has suffered during his career. And for a player known to sacrifice any part of his body for the betterment of the team, that's saying a lot.

"I feel great; I've been feeling really good the past two weeks," Laperriere said Sunday. "The most frustrating thing right now is that I feel normal, I feel great. Hopefully, things will clear up, which I doubt it. If I don't get back out there, I'll stay in shape and get back to skating shape, just in case the doctors say I'm OK to go and 100 percent."

Laperriere, who was named the NHL's toughest player by The Hockey News, said he'll have an MRI done in about a week.

"I'll talk to the doctors and see what the game plan is," he said. "I don't think it'll be one doctor who tells me you're 100 percent. It's my brain and I just can't take any chance for the obvious reasons. Nobody wants to have their name attached to something like that. I go day by day and, for me, it's just a big step to be out there. I never thought I'd be back on the ice three weeks after my injury."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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