After missing last season because of post-concussion symptoms, seven-time All-Star wing Paul Kariya announced his retirement Wednesday after 15 seasons.
Kariya, 36, has a long history of concussions, including one that forced him to miss the 1998 Winter Olympics and much of the 1997-98 season after a cross-check to the jaw by then-Blackhawk Gary Suter.
Kariya, 1993's No. 4 overall draft pick by Anaheim, said the decision to retire wasn't difficult. "This is a black-and-white issue," he told ESPN.com.
Last summer, Kariya said, top concussion doctor Mark Lovell told him he had brain damage and wasn't able to play. "He said to me, 'No one in my profession would clear you to play this season.' "
Kariya began working with Dr. Daniel Amen, one of the NFL's leading postconcussion experts. After five months of hyperbaric chambers and other workout regimens, Kariya jumped from the 20th to the 80th percentile in brain function. Still, Amen told him playing again would be foolish. "There's still brain damage on the scan," Kariya said.
Kariya, who scored 50 goals in 1995-96 and had two seasons over 100 points, believes the league still hasn't done enough to address head injuries. Harsher penalties are needed, including suspending coaches and fining owners, he told Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper. "If you start fining the owners and suspending the coach, then (head shots are) out of the game," he said.
player moves: Capitals goalie Semyon Varlamov, who can be a restricted free agent Friday, will play in Russia's KHL next season, his agent told Russia's Sovetsky Sport newspaper. … The Rangers bought out the final year of captain Chris Drury's contract for $3.333 million, making the forward an unrestricted free agent after four underwhelming seasons in New York.