Defenceman Scott Niedermayer was suspended Tuesday by the Anaheim Ducks, a mere formality confirming that he didn't report to training camp.
"Obviously, he knew it was coming," Ducks general manager Brian Burke said. "It wasn't a fun phone call, but he expected it — he is a professional."
Niedermayer, 34, is still mulling over whether to play or retire, a decision he has grappled with since Anaheim won its first Stanley Cup on June 6.
"That is his decision and I cannot predict anything," said Ducks forward Rob Niedermayer, his younger brother. "He's going to make that decision when he feels comfortable and everyone in this dressing room is comfortable with that.
"I'm sure I will be one of the first ones to know. But his family is something that's come first for him."
Suspending Niedermayer until he decides simply means Anaheim won't have to count his $6.75-million US salary against the cap, which is $50.3 million US this season.
The Ducks reportedly sit around $49 million US.
"I want our fans to understand that we didn't have a choice but to suspend Scotty," Burke said. "That might seem like a harsh step and it's not — that's what we have to do."
Career high in points
Niedermayer posted 15 goals and a career-high 69 points in 79 games last season, his second with Anaheim.
The six-time all-star and four-time Stanley Cup champion has totalled 140 goals and 468 assists for 608 points in 1,053 games over 15 NHL seasons with the New Jersey Devils and Ducks.
New Jersey drafted him third overall in 1991.
Niedermayer was named the Norris Trophy winner as the NHL's top defenceman in 2004, and claimed the Conn Smythe Trophy as top playoff performer last spring.
The Cranbrook, B.C., resident also helped Team Canada win a gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games.
"The only option the club has is to wait," Burke said. "I mean, this is a player who has earned the right to make this call."