An NHL SiriusXM commentator noted the irony of the situation Thursday: Chris Pronger, known as Captain Nasty because of the ultraphysical way he played, was being considered for a job in the league's player-safety department.

"It's like O.J. Simpson doing marriage counseling," Jim "Boomer" Gordon told his radio listeners.

On Friday, it became official. Pronger, who is technically still on the Flyers roster, was hired by the NHL.

"I think it's a good move for the league," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said Saturday night. "Chris is an intelligent guy and has a great mind for the game."

It is a job he deserved to pursue, but the league should have hired him only if it made a rule change and ended the former defenseman's conflict of interest.

The NHL, however, did nothing of the sort, and now it faces harsh criticism from other teams when Pronger rules on disciplinary matters.

Some background: Pronger's Hall of Fame career ended in 2011 when he suffered a concussion, but because of the NHL's outdated and comical rules, the Flyers must still keep him on their roster and place him on the long-term injured reserve list (LTIR). That way, they get $4.9 million in cap relief and, in effect, have room to replace him. Including this season, Pronger has three years left on his contract, and the Flyers owe him a total of $5.15 million.

But the way the rule is set up, Pronger cannot retire - even though doctors say his career is done - because if he does, the Flyers will have to absorb his cap hit and become handcuffed in personnel moves.

Hextall tried unsuccessfully to get the NHL to add an amendment, permitting Pronger to retire and come off the team's cap. If an amendment was added, the LTIR charade wouldn't be needed.

Pronger will not be allowed to make disciplinary decisions on incidents involving the Flyers. But he will be involved in decisions involving their opponents.

Can you say "conflict of interest"?

Let's say, for instance, the Penguins' Sidney Crosby and the Rangers' Rick Nash are involved in incidents that could be suspension-worthy. The length of their suspensions would deeply affect the Flyers - as would incidents involving most other players, especially from the Eastern Conference.

Pronger will be valuable to the NHL player-safety department because of his firsthand experience with concussions and other injuries. Pronger's on-the-edge style of play - he was suspended eight times - could also help in his new role, Hextall said.

"Let's be real: He knows all about it. He's been the guy on both sides of it," Hextall said. ". . . I think that makes you better at the job."

That aside, the rule needs to be changed so players such as Pronger - and others who have suffered career-ending injuries - can move forward and get on with their lives.

The solution is simple. If a doctor says a player can never play again, a team should have the option to pay him the rest of his salary and be able to take him off the books. Goodbye, cap hit.

Instead, the NHL has hired Pronger (a nice gesture in principle), but its head-scratching rule has forced him to keep ties with the Flyers for three more seasons. The league should have given the Flyers the chance to pay Pronger his remaining money ($5.15 million) and cut ties with him. If the Flyers didn't, then Pronger would still be their employee and would not be allowed to work for the league.

Pronger is being paid by the Flyers and is being asked to help rule on discipline matters that affect their opponents. That's an awkward spot for everybody. The NHL should have eliminated even the thought of funny business.