- Pierre LeBrun, NHL
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Troubled by some of the coverage he saw of his comments, the star defenseman for the Nashville Predators reached out to ESPN.com on Saturday before the All-Star Skills Competition to clear the air.
"I was watching TV this morning and one guy said I was definitely going to test the open market,” Suter told ESPN.com. "I never said that. So I just want people to know that I’m focused on helping our team win and I think that’s the most important thing right now."
Suter also made sure to reach out to Preds GM David Poile to explain what transpired at All-Star media day Friday. Suter stands by his comment that he’s decided he won’t sign an extension before the Feb. 27 trade deadline, but that’s solely because he feels contract talks would be a distraction hovering over the team. Instead, he says, by shelving contract talks until after the season, he feels he can focus on the team and a playoff race.
What perturbed Suter was the inference that it meant he was definitely out the door.
"It made it seem like I was giving up on my teammates and I don’t like the sound of that, because it’s not true at all," Suter said.
"I got back to the hotel and later last night everyone was texting me asking me what I said. Then I saw some of the coverage and felt like it wasn’t what I was saying."
He does understand, however, that Poile now has a big decision to make. With Suter unsigned, the Predators have to decide whether they will move him before Feb. 27 or risk losing a highly valued asset for nothing come July 1.
"I hope I don’t get traded; I hope I can stay in Nashville," Suter said. "Because we have a chance to win, we have a pretty good team."
1dPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald