Pittsburgh Penguins’ Pascal Dupuis forced to retire

Pascal Dupuis opened the scoring quickly for the Penguins, just 13 seconds after puck drop to get the Penguins an early lead in his return after a two-game absence.

Pascal Dupuis has been forced to retire from hockey because of a medical condition related to blood clots, Dupuis and the Pittsburgh Penguins announced Tuesday.

“It was very difficult for me to make this decision to have to step away from the game,” Dupuis, a 15-year veteran and Stanley Cup winner, said in a club release.

“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.”

Dupuis has been placed on the injured reserve list, and Pittsburgh intends to place the winger on long-term injured reserve. The 36-year-old is signed to the Penguins through 2016-17 at an average annual value of $3.75 million. Pittsburgh will continue to pay his salary.

“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,” said team physician Dr. Dharmesh Vyas.

The Laval, Que., native registered two goals and two assists in 18 games this season.

He was originally diagnosed with a blood clot in January 2014 shortly after suffering torn ligaments in his knee and was on blood thinners for six months while also recovering from surgery.

In November 2014, Dupuis was diagnosed with a blood clot in his lung, forcing him to miss the rest of the 2014-15 season. He was cleared for contact in June 2015 and represented a feel-good story early this season.

Dupuis leaves the NHL having scored 190 goals and 409 points over 871 NHL games with the Penguins, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, and Atlanta Thrashers. He won his Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009.

“I feel very badly for Pascal,” said Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford. “I’ve never seen a man more determined to play and more determined to help his team. Unfortunately, we’ve reached the point where it’s not in the best interest of his health to allow him to do that anymore.”

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