By Ben Meyer-Abbott
When the Blackhawks convene for training camp in September, it doesn't appear Andrew Brunette will be among those returning to the team.
The 37-year-old unrestricted free agent signed a one-year deal with the Hawks last summer specifically for a chance to take a shot at winning the Stanley Cup.
But in a question-and-answer session with reporters Wednesday on the day the Hawks cleaned out their lockers at the United Center, the 16-year veteran forward talked about possibly retiring from the NHL.
"I'm not sure, it was a tough year," said Brunette, who toughed out a foot injury late in the season and the playoffs. "You don't want to leave this way but there's times when the game tells you to leave and you don't have decision. We'll see, I'm not sure. I'm going to let it decompress, come up for air and make some kind of decision."
Brunette, who has 268 goals and 733 assists in his 16 seasons in the NHL, had 27 points in 78 games as he bounced up and down as a role player the Hawks' lineup.
"Was it much fun? Probably not as much fun as I've had other years, but I'd sacrifice that for an opportunity to try to win," said Brunette, who joined the Hawks looking for his first Stanley Cup. "We fell short and I'm as disappointed as anybody about how things went."
Hawks general manager Stan Bowman said earlier in the day he did not plan to bring back all of its unrestricted free agents, and Brunette did not expect to return to the team in the offseason.
"I think they're going to go in a different direction," Brunette said. "I'm not going to be holding my breath thinking that they're going to call or hang around by the phone."