In just three short weeks the Anaheim Ducks will be heading to training camp, and there are still questions unanswered, such as will Bobby Ryan be signed to a new contract in time? At least one question has been answered though - Paul Kariya will NOT be a Duck this season, reuniting with long-time friend and linemate, Teemu Selanne
Kariya's agent issued a statement on Friday stating that Kariya will not play at all during the 2010-2011 season due to post-concussion syndrome. That decision was made after Kariya consulted with a concussion specialist.
The head can only take so much bumping and banging, and Kariya has had more than his fair share during his career. He missed a few games in 1996, courtesy of Mathieu Schneider. His worst came in 1998 thanks to Gary Suter and took Kariya out of the Olympics as well as the final 28 games of the regular season. He was clearly knocked out in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals by Scott Stevens of the New Jersey Devils in 2003. Kariya recovered quickly and came back on the ice to score one of the goals that took the Ducks to a game 7 before losing to the Devils.
The most recent was in December 2009 while playing for the St. Louis Blues. Patrick Kaleta of the Buffalo Sabres gave Kariya the chance to sit out for six more games.
With concussions being cumulative, this may very well signal the end of Kariya's 15 NHL season career, during which he averaged a point per game in 989 regular season games. At the very least, this should end the speculation of whether or not Kariya will rejoin the Ducks this season.
While some Ducks fans had a particular anathema to Kariya after he left in 2003, like him or not, you can only wish him the best of health and a full recovery.