Pascal Dupuis has made the difficult decision to end his hockey career due to the risks of continuing to play with a medical condition related to blood clots, he and the Pittsburgh Penguins announced today. The 36 year-old winger appeared in 18 games this season.
A Difficult Choice
In comments released by the team, Dupuis said, “It was very difficult for me to make this decision to have to step away from the game. 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. I want to thank my teammates and the Penguins organization for their unwavering support during this difficult time.”
“It was very difficult for me to make this decision to have to step away from the game."
Team physician Dr. Dharmesh Vyas told the media that although Dupuis was following medical protocol which has been effective for other NHL players, the decision was made that the risk of playing with his condition, combined with the side effects of the tests to monitor it, was too high for his long-term health.
During a game against the San Jose Sharks on December 1st, Dupuis felt pain in his chest and left the game. That was only one of several games he either left early or did not play this season for precautionary reasons. These medical incidents occurred despite him taking blood thinners to reduce the risk.
"One-hundred percent, it's all about them. If all this was on me or if I was taking a selfish approach I would probably still be playing.”
Though he was cleared and suited up last weekend for back-to-back games against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, Dupuis said that he was already considering retirement and explained that the situation weighed heavily on him, as well as his wife, children, and teammates. Dupuis stated that it was because of his family that he made the decision, admitting, "One-hundred percent, it's all about them. If all this was on me or if I was taking a selfish approach I would probably still be playing.”
The Start of the Problems
Dupuis's blood clot issues began in the 2013-14 NHL season. In a December 23rd game against the Ottawa Senators, Dupuis tore his MCL and ACL when Ottawa's Marc Methot checked Penguins captain Sidney Crosby onto Dupuis. The first clot formed in his leg while he was recovering and he spent six months out, injured and on blood thinners. He returned to playing the next fall, but in November 2014, Dupuis was diagnosed with another blood clot, this time in his lung, causing him to miss the rest of the 2014-15 season.
"It made it emotional for me. The guys on the bench and in the locker room were obviously concerned with how I was feeling. I don't want to be a distraction."
The forward leaves the NHL with 190 goals and 409 points over 871 NHL games with the Penguins, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, and Atlanta Thrashers. He won a Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009.
The Laval, Quebec native informed his teammates of his decision Tuesday morning. Of that discussion he said, "It made it emotional for me. The guys on the bench and in the locker room were obviously concerned with how I was feeling. I don't want to be a distraction." Dupuis wants to continue to be involved with the team and hopes to help the Penguins win another Stanley Cup some day, but not as a player.
Dupuis is signed to the Penguins through 2016-17 at an average annual value of $3.75 million, which the team will continue to pay while placing him on the long-term injured reserve.