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Laperriere may be ready for Round 2

by Mike G. Morreale
Ian Laperriere will not need surgery after taking a slap shot to the face that required between 60-70 stitches over his right eye during the Philadelphia Flyers' series-clinching Game 5 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Laperriere should be ready for his team's Eastern Conference Semifinal series later this week.

Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren told reporters that Laperriere suffered a non-displaced fracture of the orbital bone that didn't require surgery.

"I think hell would freeze over before he doesn't play," Holmgren said. Holmgren went on to say that Laperriere looked "a lot better (Saturday than on Friday) -- other than (his eye) being very colorful."

The Flyers were holding a three-goal lead and in the midst of killing a Devils' power-play in the third period when Laperriere decided to step in front of a slap shot by defenseman Paul Martin. By the time he realized he had slid too early, the puck slammed into his forehead, opening up his face to the point where a trail of blood followed him as he skated blindly on the ice before getting medical attention.

"When I grabbed (athletic trainer) Jimmy (McCrossin), I asked him if my eye was still there," Laperriere told reporters after taking between 60-70 stitches along his right eyebrow. "He said 'Yeah, there's just so much blood.' I was a little bit in panic mode, I couldn't see out of my right eye. It's one thing to say it, but when you don't see anything, you kind of panic. But after laying on the medical table for two minutes once I got inside, I started to see shadows and then everything came back to normal."

It marked the second time in six months that Laperriere had taken a shot to the face. It was during a penalty-killing situation in November against the Buffalo Sabres that a Jason Pominville slap shot to the mouth resulted in 70 stitches and seven lost teeth. It would be one of 74 blocks on the season for Laperriere.
He blocked six shots in five playoff games against the Devils.

Laperriere will be re-evaluated Monday. He said Thursday's game would be the last time he'd enter a hockey game without wearing a protective shield.

Additionally, Holmgren said that the right foot surgeries performed on forwards Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne were successful. Dr. Steven Raikin performed the surgeries on Gagne and Carter Friday at the Riverview Surgery Center at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia.

Gagne will have an MRI in two weeks and could be back on the ice in three weeks. Holmgren told Chuck Gormley of the Camden Courier-Post that Carter's injury will likely sideline him the remainder of the playoffs.

Following his second goal in Game 4 in Philadelphia, Carter skated gingerly back to the bench in obvious pain after taking an initial shot from Chris Pronger off his right skate. Gagne was hit twice in the right foot on shots by Devils' fowards Ilya Kovalchuk and Brian Rolston in separate instances over the course of the game. After stepping in front of Rolston's blast midway through the second period, he was taken to the dressing room and didn't return.

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