September 21 Camden Courier-Post:
“When the Flyers signed 34-year-old pugilist Jody Shelley to a three-year, $3.3 million contract on July 1, the first day of free agency, even some of their most devout followers wondered if the team had taken a step back to its Cro-Magnon past.
Not Ian Laperriere.
The Flyers‘ leader in fighting majors last season with 25, Laperriere said Monday the Flyers needed to address the issue of opposing teams taking runs at smaller players like Mike Richards, Danny Briere and Claude Giroux. And they needed a man bigger than him to dole out the punishment.
Ironically, it was a hit Shelley put on Richards late last season that forced the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Laperriere to grab hold of the 6-3, 225-pound Shelley.
“The first thing I thought was, “What am I doing?’ ” Laperriere said with a laugh. “He hit Richie at the blue line. He’s way out of my league, but I felt like I had to make a point. He’s one of the toughest heavyweights in the league. That’s why we got him.
“When you get guys like that in the lineup, you become a little bit tougher. You go into buildings and you know that if they start bullying you around, he’s there to answer the bell. When you have a guy like that on your team, you play a little bigger.””
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