The hockey world got some sad news on Tuesday, as Pascal Dupuis and the Pittsburgh Penguins announced the end of Dupuis’s career.
A medical condition related to blood clots will keep Dupuis from playing again, the team announced. He was diagnosed with blood clots in his lung last year and that kept him out most of the year. He eventually worked his way back into the lineup.
He was cleared to play again this season and found his way into 18 games, but issues related to the blood clot and the medication he was taking have made it difficult to continue. He’s been pulled out of games after experiencing chest pain, he said in Tuesday’s media scrum, and sat out a game while undergoing tests on December 1.
Dr. Dharmesh Vyas, the Penguins team physician said in the team’s release, “Despite playing on a medical protocol that has worked for other players in the NHL, we feel that the risk of Pascal playing with his condition and the side effects of the tests to monitor him are just not in the best interest of his long-term health.”
Dupuis said that the decision largely came down to his family.
The decision ultimately came down to Dupuis’ well-being and his family. “My wife and four children have always been my first priority, and playing with my condition has become a constant worry for all of us.”
Dupuis: 100% this was about my family. If it were just me I'd still be playing.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 8, 2015
“It’s definitely a difficult situation,” said team captain Sidney Crosby. “Most guys wouldn’t have been able to even come back after what he went though the last couple of years. But it’s something he needs to do at this point in his life. He has a family and he has to look out for himself. But we’re going to miss him a lot. He’s a great guy, great teammate. I know he’ll have a hard time staying away from the rink, so hopefully we’ll see lots of him.”
That his presence would be missed with the team, both as a player and a person, was echoed by every player who spoke to the media on Tuesday. “He’s always smiling, joking, a fun guy to be around every single day. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in his personal life, bad days at the rink. He’s a guy you can lean on to make the environment easier,” said forward Chris Kunitz.
Dupuis will not be retiring, but will be placed on injured reserve and ultimately long-term injured reserve for the duration of his contract, which carries an AAV of $3.75 over this season and next.
Dupuis finished his career having played 871 career games split between the Penguins, Atlanta Thrashers, New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild. He scored 190 goals, including three 20-goal seasons, and 219 assists. He hoisted the Stanley Cup as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009.
Fittingly, his final NHL goal will be assisted by long-time linemate Sidney Crosby against Dupuis’s hometown Montreal Canadiens. It was a his first game after missing a little time again. He put it in just 13 seconds into the game.
Watch Dupuis’s media scrum from Tuesday.
— ben lovejoy (@RevLovejoy6) December 8, 2015
@Duper0009 One of the best if not the best teammate I ever had. Thanks for everything brother and enjoy the family.
— Max Talbot (@Max25talbot) December 8, 2015
We're going to miss @Duper0009, but not close to as much as he'll miss being out there. The epitome of a leader & role model. Thanks duper.
— Ian Cole (@ICole28) December 9, 2015
— Steven Oleksy (@StevenOleksy) December 8, 2015
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 8, 2015
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) December 8, 2015
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.