Less than a week before free agency kicks in, Brett Hull sounds like he wants to stay with the St. Louis Blues.
"I don't want to go anywhere," Hull said. "They're keeping me and the fans dangling, and it's not the path I would have chosen."But with the July 1 date looming, he's sticking to his demand for a no-trade clause. Hull turned down a three-year, $15 million deal in March for that reason. He said the virtual no-trade contract teammate Al MacInnis signed earlier this month wouldn't be acceptable.
Under the terms of MacInnis' three-year, $15 million contract, the Blues can trade him in the first year to only four teams of MacInnis' choosing, and with a $500,000 penalty. In the last two years, they need his permission.
Not good enough for Hull.
"I want a no-trade," he said. "I've done too much here. I've committed myself not only to the team but the community and everything else. If they don't think enough of me to do that, then I really don't want to be part of the organization."
The 33-year-old Hull also is miffed that MacInnis was the team's top offseason priority. He's been with the team for 11 years and is their career leading scorer. It was his slap shot that began construction on the Kiel Center, now 4 years old.
The front office said it was getting mixed signals, so Hull was grouped with the Blues' other potential free agents, Geoff Courtnall and Steve Duchesne. General manager Larry Pleau has been negotiating with agents for both players.
The two sides haven't talked since March, when the Blues pulled their offer off the table. Hull said it's their move. He also said it was not fair to the fans to leave the issue unresolved.
"Whether it sounds egotistical or not, there's a lot of Brett Hull fans out there," Hull said. "Let them know, is Brett Hull going to be here, or not. Come out and say it."
Hull's father, Bobby Hull, would like Brett to sign with the Chicago Blackhawks - his old team. He said his son has been mistreated by the Blues.
Brett Hull just laughs at that.
"You can't listen to my dad," he said. "My dad loves me and he wants me to come to Chicago very badly."