DENVER – Pascal Dupuis knew his comeback from the blood clots that sidelined him for most of last season would pose a unique set of challenges.
In the end, the risk proved to be too much.
The versatile Pittsburgh Penguins forward retired Tuesday, coming to the decision after consulting with team doctors and his family.
“It’s all about them,” said the married father of four who played for the Wild from 2000 to ’07. “If all this was on me or if I would have taken a selfish approach to this, I would still be playing.”
The 36-year-old had two goals and two assists in 18 games after missing the majority of the 2014-15 season after blood clots were discovered in his lungs.
He took blood thinners to deal with the condition and was following a protocol that monitored his status.
Dupuis experienced a series of small setbacks, including leaving a game against San Jose last week after two periods with chest pain. He was cleared after undergoing a series of tests and played in weekend losses in Los Angeles and Anaheim.
The extended West Coast road trip, however, gave Dupuis time to think. The rigorous series of exams he needed to undergo every time something popped up was more than a nuisance, it was troubling.
“I don’t feel like I should have my body go through this again,” he said.
Dupuis finishes with 190 goals and 219 assists in 871 games with Pittsburgh, the Wild, the Atlanta Thrashers and the New York Rangers.
He helped the Penguins to the 2009 Stanley Cup and was one of the most popular players in the dressing room, beloved as much for his quick wit as his nimble skating and penalty killing prowess.
Penguins captain and longtime linemate Sidney Crosby had to gather himself when asked about what Dupuis meant to the club in his nine seasons with Pittsburgh.
“I don’t know if I could get through it, to be honest with you,” Crosby said. “I’m going to miss him a lot.”
Penguins team doctor Dharmesh Vyas said the chances Dupuis took while playing along with the side effects of the tests required to monitor him were “not in the best interest of his long-term health.”