The former Canuck captain and netminder has decided to call time on his career.Roberto Luongo has retired.The legendary goaltender, who had been playing with the Florida Panthers since 2014, announced Wednesday his NHL career has come to an end.In an open letter, Luongo said it was the toughest decision of his life.For the past several years, he has insisted publicly and privately that he wanted to play for as long as he was physically able; even this past season he said he believed he would carry on.When the season came to an end, he found new insights into his situation. He said he spent two months contemplating what to do.“I love the game so much, but the commitment I required to prepare, to keep my body ready, has become overwhelming,” he said in his letter. “Since I had my hip surgery a couple of years ago, I’ve been showing up two hours before every practice and three hours before every game to work out my hip. Even at night, whether it was the night before a game or even a night off, there I was rolling out, doing strengthening exercises. My entire life revolved around recovery, strengthening and making sure I was ready to go the next day.“I was willing to make that sacrifice because I love the game, I love being part of it, being in the action and competing with my teammates. I was willing to go through it all for my love of hockey.”Luongo said he recognized in the last two months that his performance this past season wasn’t to the standard he expected of himself and he also didn’t feel the same spark as he had in the past when it came to his off-season training.“So I’ve decided to retire, and it’s been really tough. One of the hardest things I’ve gone through in making this decision was when I told Gianni and Gabriella, my kids. Seeing them cry when I told them about it because they loved coming to the games and watching me play so much, it really broke my heart. We cried together. It was hard, it was really sad,” he said.He made a point to thank his family and friends, his teammates — the Sedins, Alex Burrows, Pavel Bure and Sasha Barkov singled out — and the fans, including the fans in Vancouver.“I’ll never forget the impact that city and their fans made not only on my career, but on my life as well. They will always hold a special place in my heart,” he said of Vancouver.If his retirement is officially registered with the league, a cap recapture penalty will be applied to the Canucks’ salary cap because of the structure of Luongo’s contract.Roberto Luongo was such an animal at his peak. Games played in a 4 season stretch:03-04: 7205-06: 7506-07: 7607-08: 73It’s absolutely ridiculous that the 03-04 Panthers went 28-35-19 considering that Luongo started 72 (!) of those games and had a .931 save percentage (!!)— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) June 26, 2019If his retirement is filed officially with the league, a $3-million cap recapture penalty will be applied to the Canucks’ salary cap for the next three seasons. (Because they were already retaining $800,000 in the 2014 trade, it’s an increase of just over $2.2 million in cap expenditures to what was originally budgeted by the team.)The Panthers will have a $1,094,128 penalty applied to their cap hit.The “cap benefit recapture formula” was instituted in the most recent collective bargaining agreement to prevent teams from signing further “back-diving” contracts, large multi-year deals that had multiple years at the end where the yearly salary was very low compared to the prime years, all to drive down the average annual cap hit.The cap-recapture scheme has very funny math. The closer to the end of a contract the player retires, the higher the penalty: by the calculations used, the Canucks and Panthers benefited to the tune of $9 million against their cap hit over the course of the contract. Take that $9 million and divide over the course of the remaining contract.In other words, if Luongo had retired next summer or, worse, the summer after that, the penalty would had been even worse.The system was pushed for by Brian Burke, who was general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2012-13, with contracts like Luongo’s and the one Ilya Kovalchuk signed with the New Jersey Devils in mind.To date, no other team has had to deal with this situation; there have been other players who have seen their NHL careers end, like Marian Hossa, David Clarkson or Nathan Horton, but none have officially “retired.” They’ve simply been allowed to fail their physical at the beginning of training camp, their contracts allowed to linger on as cap hits but that also can be put on long-term injury firstname.lastname@example.org/risingactionCLICK HERE to report a typo. Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email email@example.com.