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Canucks’ Mark Messier May Ok Trade

February 8, 2000

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) _ While reaffirming his commitment to the Vancouver Canucks, captain Mark Messier said he wouldn’t stand in the way in the event of a possible trade.

Responding to growing speculation that it may be in the slumping Canucks’ best interest to deal the 22-year veteran center by next month’s NHL trading deadline, Messier said it’s hypothetical to assume what will happen.

``If the franchise feels that it’s better to do certain things, whatever they may be, I don’t want to hold anybody hostage or be in a situation where I’m holding a team back from progressing,″ said Messier on Tuesday, fresh from participating in his 14th NHL All-Star game.

``It’s more important that the franchise does the right thing,″ he said. ``And I think in a situation like this, both sides can walk away feeling good with what’s transpired here in the last three years and feel good about what’s going to transpire in the future. That’s what I’m in favor for.″

Otherwise, Messier added that he is focused on ending the season with the Canucks.

``I don’t have else to tell you other that I’m committed to the team and help it make the playoffs over the next 30 games,″ he said.

Messier, who has a no-trade clause in his contract, is in the final guaranteed year of his deal, with the Canucks having the option to either re-sign him to two more years for $12 million, or buy out the remainder of the contract for $2 million.

Messier may have inadvertently created the latest stir at last weekend’s NHL All-Star festivities in Toronto, when at least one report quoted him as saying that he wouldn’t be surprised if he were traded.

On Tuesday, Messier said he never recalled saying that.

But those comments were enough to spark Canucks president and general manager Brian Burke to schedule a meeting with Messier on Thursday.

Messier said he didn’t learn about the meeting until hearing about it from reporters.

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