What conflict? Pronger officially lands player safety gig

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Per TSN, the rumors are true — Chris Pronger has landed a job in the NHL’s department of player safety.

Pronger, 39, was a trending topic last night when Yahoo first broke news that player safety czar Stephane Quintal had interviewed Pronger for a job on his staff, and subsequently put the ex-Flyers defenseman atop his potential candidate list.

But it’s that “ex-Flyers” designation that had some people upset.

Technically speaking, Pronger is still on Philly’s books despite not having played since November of 2011 due to post-concussion syndrome. So long as he doesn’t officially retire and remain part of the active roster — granted, he’s on long-term injured reserve — Philadelphia gets relief of his $4.9 million cap hit, which is vital to its ability to maneuver under the ceiling.

For some, the fact Pronger still collects a Flyers paycheque is a conflict of interest. The league, though, doesn’t appear to see it the same way; yesterday, while speaking in Los Angeles prior to the Kings’ banner-raising ceremony, commissioner Gary Bettman said a potential Pronger hire doesn’t “represent any problem at all to deal with,” adding “he’s done playing.”

As for what Philadelphia GM Ron Hextall has to say about this? Well, nothing yet…

Update: McKenzie further addressed the conflict of interest issue on TSN’s Insider Trading

“The NHL believes that the perceived conflict of interest is more notional than tangible and [Pronger] will be brought in with safeguards in place that would reduce the exposure on that potential conflict.

“I’ve talked to a number of teams and you got a varied reaction. I’ve got some teams that are absolutely horrified that this is happening, and other teams that think ‘y’know, what, Chris Pronger is exactly what they need in this department,’ and they aren’t too concerned about the potential conflict.”