Laperriere’s Style Leaving Its Mark
Ian Laperriere, a mouthy irritant to King opponents, was neither disturbed nor surprised to find himself among the Sun newspapers’ so-called “Dirty Dozen,” defined in Sunday’s Toronto Sun as “chippy and sometimes-underhanded ... players who will stoop to anything to help their team win.”
“I wasn’t looking forward to making the top-10 list,” said Laperriere, who came in at No. 5 in an informal poll of players, coaches and broadcasters. “But if they say everybody hates me around the league, it means I’m doing something right. If they all like me, I don’t do my job right. It’s as simple as that.”
Among the Kings’ most personable and likable players, Laperriere said several teammates have told him they used to hate playing against him. Last season, he led the Kings with 213 hits, 56 more than runner-up Mattias Norstrom.
“I think I’m a pretty decent person off the ice but I can’t be like that on the ice,” he said. “I’m not going to cheat, but I’m going to play physical and be an agitator out there. And if I have to drop the gloves, I will.”
The last comment was a reference to the biting commentary about him that accompanied the Dirty Dozen list:
“Doesn’t get a lot in the way of respect from his opponents because nobody considers him to be brave. Is accused of being loose with his stick and unwilling to drop the gloves when push comes to shove.
“ ‘He would never let himself get in a fight. He stays away from the fighters and he will never, ever go toe to toe with a guy,’ said a broadcaster.’ ”
That upset Laperriere, but he declined further comment.
Topping the list was Bryan Marchment of the San Jose Sharks, whose knee-on-knee collision last week with Mikko Eloranta of the Kings only stoked his bad reputation. Eloranta could be sidelined six weeks.
At Toronto, 4:30
Site -- Air Canada Centre.
Radio -- KSPN (1110).
Records -- Kings 7-5-2-1, Maple Leafs 4-9-2-0.
Record vs. Maple Leafs -- (2001-02) 1-0.
Update -- The Kings have lost three of four and are 4-5-2-1 since their 3-0 start. In the Eastern Conference, only Buffalo and Atlanta are off to worse starts than Toronto.
-- Jerry Crowe