Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren was clear in his word choice: Chris Pronger will never play again.
Holmgren made the comments to The Hockey News, discussing the defenceman's future in the NHL.
"I'll say it: Chris is never going to play again," said Holmgren. "I have no problems saying it."
Pronger last played in 2011 and has battled post-concussion symptoms and an eye injury.
Because he is on long-term injured reserve, Pronger's $11 million remaining salary cannot be bought out by the Flyers. If he retires, the salary-cap hit is spread over four seasons.
The lingering health matter is Pronger's right eye. He was hit by then-Toronto Maple Leafs centre Mikhail Grabovski's stick on a shot Oct. 24, 2011. He suffered ocular damage and issues with his eyesight that complicated concussion symptoms.
He appeared in five games in November, but said he was an accident waiting to happen. In April, Pronger said he was considering getting back on the ice.
"The biggest thing on my mind is getting healthy and trying to get back to 100% and play again," he said.
Pronger played in 1,167 games with the Hartford Whalers, St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Ducks and Flyers. He has 698 points and 1,590 penalty minutes and won the Hart and Norris trophies in 2000.
Pronger has played in the Stanley Cup final three times, including 2007, when he was on the Cup-winning Ducks' roster.
NASH, NEAL ON IR
Rick Nash has been placed on injured reserve by the New York Rangers, who could benefit from a break in the schedule to give him two full weeks to recover from a concussion.
Nash has missed the past two games and was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, one week removed from a suspension-drawing elbow from San Jose Sharks defenceman Brad Stuart.
"He's still feeling symptoms, so until I hear otherwise, I don't expect him back," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.
The move rules out Nash, who has three assists this season and scored 42 points in the lockout-shortened season, for Wednesday's game against the Washington Capitals. The Rangers then don't take the ice again until Oct. 24.
The Pittsburgh Penguins moved forward James Neal to injured reserve Tuesday with a lower-body injury. Neal was injured Oct. 3, opening night, against the New Jersey Devils.
The Penguins recalled forward Harry Zolnierczyk from their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
The NHL department of player safety has suspended Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta for 10 games stemming from an illegal check to the head of Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Jack Johnson on Thursday.
Kaleta’s latest punishment adds to a long list of recent infractions that have seen the 27-year-old fined or suspended six times over the last four seasons.
Last week’s incident occurred early in the first period after Johnson received the puck at the Buffalo blueline and advanced it along the boards.
“Although Johnson is eligible to be checked, Kaleta takes an improper angle, misses Johnson’s body and doesn’t make a full body-check,” NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan explained. “Instead, he hits Johnson directly on the chin with his left shoulder.
“Despite the fact that Johnson is in the act of coming to a stop, in our opinion, he doesn’t materially change the position of his head and body in such a way that significantly contributes to his head being the main point of contact.”
Kaleta will forfeit $152,439.00 in salary which will go to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
Johnson remained in the game following the incident and wasn’t injured on the play.
New York Rnagers defenceman Michael Del Zotto didn’t travel ahead of Wednesday’s game against the Washington Capitals after suffering from flu-like symptoms. "He is not flying in (Tuesday), he's not feeling well," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told reporters. "We'll see how he feels (Wednesday), but unless energy-wise he feels a lot better, he's not going to play” … Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard missed Tuesday night’s game in Columbus after bruising his glove hand against the Philadelphia Flyers over the weekend.