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 defenseman'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. Unfounded chatter last season connected the Flyers to Pronger, but Holmgren said again that the 39-year-old is on long-term injured reserve.
Because of the injury designation, 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 Toronto Maple Leafs' Mikhail Grabovski's stick on a shot on 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 percent 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 played in the Stanley Cup Finals three times, including 2007, when he was on the Cup-winning Ducks' roster.