Flyers' Primeau to decide on retirement this week

Updated: September 13, 2006, 12:59 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

PHILADELPHIA -- Nearly 11 months after Keith Primeau suffered a concussion that cost him most of last season, the former Philadelphia Flyers captain is expected to make a decision about his future before the end of the week.

Keith Primeau
Primeau

After delivering one tearful goodbye already this year, Primeau is faced with the harsh reality that his career could be over because of lingering symptoms from a hard hit to the head.

"You could read it on the wall," Primeau said Tuesday night.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday that Primeau is expected to retire.

"I've had those discussions [about his future] with my wife and I will have something more to say about it either Wednesday or Thursday," Primeau told the paper on Tuesday.

"I have not talked to the club since last week. I had been looking to get myself back into a position to play. So if you were to go with your instincts on what I'm going to do, you would be correct."

Primeau had been trying to return from a concussion suffered on Oct. 25 after a hit from Montreal's Alexander Perezhogin. It was the most severe in a series of head injuries Primeau endured during his 15-year NHL career.

"Since we're trying to find another center, somebody is on their way out, and the obvious assumption would be that I was not going to be returning."
-- Primeau on the Flyers signing Ryan Kesler to an offer sheet

Perhaps anticipating that Primeau won't be ready for the start of training camp on Friday, the Flyers signed free-agent center Ryan Kesler to a one-year offer sheet on Tuesday.

Vancouver can either match the Flyers' offer or take a second-round pick from the Flyers next year.

Kesler, 22, had 10 goals and 13 assists in 82 games with Vancouver last season. In two seasons with the Canucks, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Kesler had 12 goals and 16 assists in 110 games.

Vancouver selected him out of Ohio State with the 23rd overall pick in the 2003 draft.

"Since we're trying to find another center, somebody is on their way out, and the obvious assumption would be that I was not going to be returning," Primeau said.

Primeau said he was set to meet with Flyers team physician Gary Dorshimer on Wednesday.

Primeau, who has two years and $6.84 million remaining on his contract, missed 21 games because of a concussion suffered against the Rangers in the 2003-04 season. He also had at least two head injuries during the 2004 playoffs, in the Eastern Conference semifinals against Toronto and in the conference finals against Tampa Bay.

Primeau matched his career high with 73 points in 2000-01, and led the Flyers in playoff goals (nine) and points (16) in 2004 when he helped lead them within a win of the Stanley Cup finals.

Primeau was appointed captain in 2001, but that title has since been given to defenseman Derian Hatcher.

Flyers center Peter Forsberg could be in next in line for the captaincy.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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