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Chelios, T. Fleury, and Mrs. Warner

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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).

Chelios: young in the big picture, old for one in the teams program

Chelios: young in the big picture, old for one in the teams program

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.”

“Mommmmmmm!”

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.

…Seriously.

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.

*****

"Mamma lemme upgraaaade you"

"Mamma lemme upgraaaade you"

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?

Comments

12 Responses to “Chelios, T. Fleury, and Mrs. Warner”
  1. Tim says:

    Hey Justin, nice to see you are doing well. I like your articles, keep up the good work. I am a tad disapointed you haven’t made the NHL though. After watching you with the Vipers I was hoping you would make the show. Glad to see you are doing something hockey related though. Have you seen Brent Kisio around? just wondering where he landed.

  2. Neil says:

    I dunno, has Detroit passed on him? I wouldn’t be surprised to see them keep him around just because he wanted to keep playing and has a good relationship with the Redwings (the Canucks would have paid Linden for another year or two, even though he generally sat out the second game of back-to-back’s).

    I had my eye on Todd Bertuzzi for under 2 million in a Nucks jersey (which obviously was not going to happen), 1.5 in Detroit killed me!

  3. Neil says:

    Also, nice to see your boy Lawson get signed! Funny that they took your advice AND signed more goalies, bet you didn’t expect that!

  4. jtbourne says:

    My problem with the Chelios thing, is that he’s put them in a position where they have to keep him around for charity, or tell him its a business, and having him playing defence for them isn’t good for theirs. Selfish, and kinda awkward.

  5. Deirdre says:

    I gotta admit, after *years* of watching that Blackhawk play on my team I got used to Chelly in a RedWings jersey. The fact that younger players still use his workouts as an example of something they’d like to be able to do someday says something about his drive to play. But this is the younger faster NHL, and even if he did keep up they’d still want to move him along because when you’re signing players this year you’re still thinking about 5 years from now.

    Personally I kinda hope he’ll end up somewhere in the States instead of Europe, but as long as he’s happy whereever he’s playing it’s all good.

    …does he have a wife/kids/family that he’d be dragging somewhere else or is he footloose and fancy free and therefore much more able to spend a year or 5 somewhere completely different?

  6. Officer Koharski says:

    DET should offer Cheli a spot in the coaching staff, or just keep him in hockey operations somehow. I think he lives in the LA area though and so me might want to stay at home rather than stick around in that capacity, who knows. For him in particular though I think it’s a lifestyle thing more than cash, he’s racked up a nice retirement over those long years.

    Theo on the other hand is embarrassing. I’m not hating on him at all, but by putting himself out there with the reality show and trying his hand at other businesses, he kind of showed his cards and this effort to get into the league again comes off as a reach. But hey, he’ll try and if he’s good enough he deserves to make it. Teams will probably give him a serious evaluation and if any of them feel he’s up to it, then he earned it fair and square. Claude did it, right? On a competitive team no less. He seemed way more flabby than Theo.

  7. smoboy says:

    If Chelios was willing to be a part-time player, and a mentor to the younger players, sure, why not? Trouble is, I don’t get a sense of him being that kind of guy.

  8. rybeckmann says:

    I hope the wings keep Chelios as I can’t stand them or him, I like both of them about as much as I like phillip rivers (which reminds me again, I refuse to take him even in the 15th round as i would rather have the sun devils back-up kicker…do we get points for college players??)….the best thing chelios has done is the video with samuel l jackson on you tube…i don’t remember warner’s wife looking that good, better take another picture on friday to make sure…..great blogs, i’m signed up now for the regular updates.

  9. SDC says:

    Maybe if the Motor City Mechanics get back into the IHL, they can re-sign Chelios to a “home games only” deal again, like they did during the lockout a few years back. Not a bad gig.

    http://davecunning.wordpress.com

  10. John says:

    Theo in a Canadian Native League getting paid thousands per game by The Chief sounds like fodder for a screenplay. Doesn’t need to be “Theo”, just any fictitious ex-NHL star with addiction-issues like him. If you go studio-style, “Theo” goes there and learns that there are things more important in life than NHL stardom and making big bucks, yada-yada. If you go Indie-style, “Theo” goes there, and well…anything can happen.

    That’s just some mud in your ear. But have you thought about writing a hockey-related screenplay?

  11. Kyrie says:

    Deirdre- Chelios has a wife and four kids, two boys and two girls. The oldest boy is playing hockey at Michigan State this year and the youngest son is playing for the Chicago Steele of the USHL.

  12. Greg says:

    I hope that Theo does come back and play again for the Rangers. As an Islanders’ fan it will be fun to once again call out loudly “Crack Head Theo”

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