Pavel Bure, who has said he'll never again play for the Vancouver Canucks, isn't going anywhere and might have to sit and stew until the right deal comes up, general manager said Brian Burke Monday.
While acknowledging that he believes the reasons behind his star player's trade demands to be "sincere," Burke said he's not going to be pressured into a corner.
"I do not answer to Pavel Bure. ... My boss' name is not Bure, it's (owner John) McCaw," the Canucks president and GM said during a telephone press conference from Nashville, where the NHL general managers are meeting.
"He's an employee of the Vancouver Canucks and therefore to me at this point he is no more than an asset. And I today will not promise to move him. In fact, I'm going to make the opposite promise, that I will not move him unless I'm offered a deal which makes sense to our hockey club and improves our hockey club."
Burke said Bure will face fines and a suspension without pay if he refused to play for the team or fails to show for training camp.
"If we start the regular season and we haven't made a deal, then a suspension is not an option, it's going to happen."
Burke said that Bure has already informed him that he will not be at camp.
Bure, who broke into the NHL with the Canucks in 1991, is a two-time 60-goal scorer and last season had 51, one of only four players to break the 50-goal plateau. The Russian right winger has one year left on a five-year contract which, through contract incentives which he has met, will reportedly pay him over $8 million.
Burke's comments came in response to an article in Sunday's Vancouver Province newspaper which quoted Bure's agent Mike Gillis as saying, "Pavel has told Brian Burke he will never play for the team again."
Burke, who took over hipost in late June, said he has known of Bure's intentions since meeting with him on July 5.
"I'm not operating with any artificial timeline and I'm not making any promises. ... If (a trade is not made) he better have a good TV set," Burke said
Since his conversation with Bure, Burke said he has tried to appease his star player in an effort to change his mind. Bure, however, has not budged.
"I said, `Is there anything, anything at all that I could do or say that would make you want to stay in Vancouver?' And he said, `No,"' Burke said.
Burke said he has yet to receive any trade offers since the story came out, and will "jump into it tomorrow."
Bure was not available for comment.
The newspaper quoted Bure as citing "personal reasons" for no longer wanting to play for the Canucks.
"The reasons are my own and everyone has personal reasons for doing things, and I don't really want to discuss them," said Bure, who said he will keep his Vancouver home to spend parts of his summers in town. "I love the fans here and I love the city. ... I really want to thank them (fans) for the seven years they supported me. But I really feel it's time to move."
Among the reasons that he would discuss included not wanting to stick around during the Canucks' rebuilding phase. The club has missed the playoffs for two straight seasons and underwent a wholesale shakeup of its roster and front-office staff since last November, including the arrival of Burke and coach Mike Keenan.
Bure said Keenan's presence is in no way connected to his intentions to leave.
His dealings with the previous management group, headed by then GM Pat Quinn, might be closer to why he wants out.
Bure's contract battles began from almost the minute he first signed his current five-year deal in the summer of 1994. Despite guarantees in his contract, Bure was forced to battle the Canucks for the money they failed to pay him during the NHL lockout that gutted half of the 1994-95 season.
He has also been unhappy with the Canucks' travel schedule, and is also frustrated by the amount of attention he attracts in the city from fans, some of whom hang out in front of his posh home.
Bure ran into injury problems, missing most of the 1995-96 season with a knee injury. He then played most of the 1996-97 campaign despite headaches and dizzy spells resulting from a concussion before the season.
Gillis, who Bure hired as his agent at the start of last season, said he and his client wanted to meet with Burke before announcing their intentions to give Burke time to consider his options.
"We've had discussions about this for about a year now since I've come on board and we haven't made a statement publicly out of courtesy to the team," Gillis said.
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