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Blues' Pronger hands over 'C' to MacInnis

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St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - St. Louis defenseman permanently yielded the team's captaincy to fellow blueliner . MacInnis wore the "C" last season while Pronger was out of the lineup recovering from knee and wrist injuries, and continued in the role when Pronger returned to the ice in early March.

Pronger said that focusing on his health weighed heavily on his decision. He met with general manager Larry Pleau over the summer regarding the situation and after consulting with his family and coach Joe Quenneville, decided on doing what was best for everybody.

"Being healthy and trying to help the team in that way is the most important thing for me," Pronger said.

Pronger was named captain at the beginning of the 1997-98 season, shortly before his 23rd birthday. He won both the Hart and Norris Trophies in 1999-2000 and led St. Louis to the best record in the National Hockey League, but in recent years the captaincy had become somewhat of a burden on the 6-6, 220-pounder.

MacInnis, 40, enters his 10th season with the and is nearing the end of brilliant career that includes a Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe Trophy and Norris Trophy. Last season he led all NHL defensemen with 68 points (16g, 52a), and he has totaled 340 goals and 932 assists in 1,413 career games.

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