This still doesn't make much sense to us, but well, here it is: Chris Pronger is an employee of the NHL's Department of Player Safety. Reportedly ... but Bob McKenzie is rarely wrong.
It's official: Chris Pronger has been hired to work for @NHLPlayerSafety.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 9, 2014
This means one of two things:
1. Pronger is still collecting on his $4,5 million per year salary from the Flyers until his contract expires in 2017. If that's the case, then the league is breaking its own CBA by allowing Pronger, technically a Flyers employee, to also work for the league. (Not to mention that working for the league's department of player safety while also working for a team presents some very real conflict of interest questions, regardless of whether or not he'd recuse himself from decisions involving the Flyers.)
2. Pronger is no longer a Flyers employee, which would mean he's officially retired from the game. If he's retired from the game, that means his $4.5 million salary no longer needs to be paid by the Flyers, but that also means that his cap hit still counts against the Flyers' cap until June 30, 2017. Which of course would totally screw the Flyers.
On the first point, Gary Bettman addressed it yesterday, saying...
Chris's case is unique. There are salary cap reasons why he couldn't officially retire. But the fact of the matter is if in fact we go in that route I'm not sure that presents any problem at all that we can deal with. He's done playing, and he gets paid no matter what from the Flyers. He doesn't owe them anything.
"He doesn't owe [the Flyers] anything" is a different way of saying "Chris is done playing and is going to get those checks no matter what, so there's no conflict of interest." But it's still extremely awkward, and at the very least will lead to some interesting conspiracy theories, when a Department of Player Safety employee is also being paid by Ed Snider.