Veteran St. Louis Blues forward Andy McDonald will become a free agent next month, but he won't be testing the market. Instead he will retire, citing concerns with concussions throughout his career.
McDonald, 35, told Andy Strickland of True Hockey that he would like to keep playing but the risks outweigh the benefits. With at least five concussions in an NHL career that began with the Ducks in 2000-01, it was something on his mind far too often.
"The last few years, too much of the focus became worrying about the next hit. I was always thinking about it," McDonald told Strickland. "I'm fortunate to get out now. I know I could play two or three more years, and I love the game of hockey, but healthwise I know I shouldn't be playing."
It's a tough way to go out. With his speed and offensive skills, McDonald could probably play a couple of more seasons in the NHL, but it's probably the right decision. First and foremost should be his health, especially if he was thinking about taking a hit and getting another concussion.
This stinks, but it's exactly why there is more and more attention being paid to concussions and trying to do whatever can be done to reduce the number of concussions we see. It's a dangerous game.
McDonald played 685 games with the Ducks and Blues. He finished with 182 goals and 489 points in his career. This season with St. Louis he had seven goals and 14 assists in 37 games. He did not score a point in six games in the postseason.