Chelios, T. Fleury, and Mrs. WarnerShareThis
Each year, the NHL welcomes a host of new names and faces to the fold, while offering those same, reliable names that you’ve come to know and love. Or at least know (see: Avery, Sean).
For 114 years, you’ve become accustomed to seeing Chris Chelios in the league, either as a Montreal Canadien, Chicago Blackhawk, or Detroit Red Wing.
For those same 114 years (*figure may not be exact), Chelios has been the quintessential stay at home d-man. I don’t mean this in a disrespectful way, but this year, it would be nice to see him do just that — stay at home.
I like Chris Chelios. I like the fire he’s played with, his passion for the game, and the fact that he seems like a pretty sharp guy in interviews.
I don’t think it’s like the Brett Favre thing, where by playing (and playing worse every year) he’s destroying some statue-worthy legacy. He’s Chris Chelios for flip’s sake. Worthy of warrior-like respect, but probably not a guy that kids pretend to be in street hockey.
“I’m Chris Chelios!”
“No I’M Chris Chelios.”
My problem is that the whole thing is embarrassing, because you shouldn’t have to tell such a distinguished veteran like him that it’s time to head for the door. Ushering someone with a career like his out the door probably didn’t just embarrass Chris, it probably embarrassed Detroit as well.
He put them in the awkward position where they had to admit, “look, maybe you can still play in this league somewhere, but we can only dress 6-7 defenseman a game, and we’re the Detroit Red Wings. We can find 60-70 defenseman better than you by tomorrow and have them under contract by dinner”.
And I have to believe that most NHL teams could make the exact same statement.
Even if an NHL team had to pull up some young kid from the American League that would struggle the way Chelios seems to be these days (forwards are somehow sneaking behind him in the neutral zone for breakaway passes with all the stealth of golf shoes on bubble wrap), at least the kid would be on the improving side of the bell curve, and the team could justify some early struggles to pay for some later success.
So anyways. You always hope that the great ones will quit before they’re fired, but I think we’re long past that point with Chelly.
The other familiar name that’s rumoured to want his face back in the NHL this year is Theo Fleury.
In all reality, this has become a really sad story. Theo had kinda been on the path to self-destruction with some drug use in his later NHL years, and probably took a few good seasons off the end of his hockey career.
For a lot of guys, when the NHL money runs out, it’s tough to find another job that pays an above average wage to have fun (for some stupid reason). So, it’s easy to understand why he would want to make a comeback.
To think he’s capable of it, in his situation, is downright delusional.
At one point after his “retirement”, Theo was playing in a Canadian Native league, where the Chief of the tribe was paying him a ton of money to have him as a ringer (thousands per game – the same team Gino Odjick was playing on). Regardless of how serious the level of hockey is, you can’t blame the guy for saying yes to that much money.
So um, at least he’s been on the ice. But my “guess” is that Theo couldn’t even be effective in the AHL right now.
The game has simply gotten too fast and strong to be effective at his size, and past his quickest days. The guy is 5’6″ and 40 years old. I can’t even believe I wasted text on this topic.
But, let’s hope he finds something that makes him happy, because I can promise you, Theo Fleury has less of a chance to play in the NHL this year than I do, and I’m at the point where using the stairs makes me sweat.
Back in my blog’s early days, I made a little, one-line/ borderline inappropriate joke about the upgrade of Kurt Warner’s wife, Brenda. Well, sure enough, at the Cardinals game Saturday night, there she was, sitting across the row from me. I thought it’d be funny to get a picture with her for a follow-up joke, but it backfired a bit when the picture came out looking totally normal, with her looking great.
Wish I didn’t look so creepy and happy about it.
That’s all for today! Stay tuned on the blog this week – I’m settled and back at work, and have a plethora of hockey related topics to bat around with you readers. What do you think? Will someone pick up Chelios?