Tag Archives: Chelios

Returning home with the Red Wings

After the tearful departure of Steve Yzerman, the Detroit Red Wings extended their power across borders and bad lines by adding Mike Modano and Chris Chelios.

Modano will return to the Red Wings to end his career, near to his roots growing up in suburban Detroit. But Modano was always a Red Wings kind of player. A kid from Westland can’t play on Mike Illitch’s youth team without some kind of loyalty to the red and white.

Pre-game partying at Cheli’s won’t be a thing of the past. Though the Wings declined to sign Chris Chelios to play, they have brought him somewhere, anywhere within the team’s organization. Is this like the Messier internship that I so covet?  Bringing in experienced Red Wing alum will calm the crowds. Chelios, who already gets the drift, will make an impact out of sheer loyalty despite the disruption from last year.

So how does all of this benefit your fantasy hockey roster on draft day? You can still rely on Detroit to fill you fantasy needs, particularly Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. These two power forwards will make it work. Injuries and an off-kilter mode sent the Wings into tight situations yet they still took a spot in the playoffs.

Johan Franzen is the third guy on the running relay team- he makes up the difference to hand off the score. He wants that role, so expect plenty of assists and shots on goal.

With the return of Jiri Hudler, anything goes. He was ranked 12th in scoring in the KHL, but that may not translate to NHL quotas. If you can spare the spot, then take a chance.

If someone in your league is keeping Jimmy Howard, too bad. This is the catch him if you can pick. Don’t think it’s crazy to draft a goalie first either. The role of goaltender is diminishing in its impact, but you must have one starter to lead the charge. Two solid goalies work for your stats to diversify your scoring into more categories.

For those who have Chris Osgood, I don’t know what to say. Look at your options.

Adding Ruslan Salei was fine. I watched him play in Denver and he stood solid on contributions to the team. He could get fired up alongside Justin Abdelkader, who will return for the Wings. Watch this winger with a punch- he’s from a hot bed of western Michigan hockey that I grew up with. A burst of brilliance could come from either, but not enough scoring or penalties for either defensive player to sit on you roster just yet.

I’m still waiting for Jonathan Ericsson to show that he has the fight and might to play like the usual Detroit defensemen. He fits in so well with the Swedish stronghold in Detroit it seems to be just a matter of time that he lifts his play to the level expected.  Todd Bertuzzi leads the team in PIMs, so that’s that until someone else on the D-list can step up.

Though it is only approaching mid-August, my hockey groups are actively discussing the upcoming season. The Wings fans are analyzing the power of “our” roster, the New York Rangers are analyzing the moves of the management, and the Colorado Avs fans are drinking a beer in the mountains chill about their hockey team exceeding expectations last season.

Take a few more weeks to relax, and then get ready to plan your strategy as training camps begin in September.

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NHL Oldies, but Goodies

Forging into the second week of the NHL season, all eyes are on the rookies, Islander John Tavares, Lightning Victor Hedman, and Avs Matt Duchene.   The young players are vital to the sport, but fans may want to divert their eyes a few seconds for the veterans skaters who may be playing their last year in the league.  They may be considered past their prime, but they show no signs of slowing down.

Legendary feisty Red Wings alumni, Chris Chelios, at age 47 did not want to stop playing the game he loved.  His team had other plans, however.  And despite the rejection and the lack of offers, Cheli remains out on the hunt for his next team.  With 25 NHL seasons with three different teams, and three Stanley Cups, Chelios was the NHL’s oldest active player in 2008-09 playing with the Red Wings during the Stanley Cup finals.

Chelios, a Chicago native, was captain of the Blackhawks from 1995-99. He was traded to Detroit in 1999. His NHL career includes 185 goals and 763 assists for 948 points.   The man wants to play hockey, and looks forward to the opportunity to play in a city he has ties with.  Practicing and potentially playing with The Chicago Wolves,  the Atlanta Thrashers’ top affiliate,  Chelios isn’t concerning himself with playing for his fourth NHL team if called up.

The Wings face some questions on the future of Captain Nick Lidstrom, 39, who dealt with knee surgery prior to the 2099-10 season. Two assists during the October 15th game with the Los Angeles Kings gave Lidstrom his 1,000-career point ranking eighth for defensemen in the halls of NHL history.   Lidstrom has played a total of 1,336 games, all with the Red Wings.

As quoted in the Detroit Free Press, “It’s been lots of fun for him, for sure,” Holmstrom said. “He’s been around for a long time so it’s good to see him get that milestone.”

Bill Guerin, 38, made some stink to be relocated out of the Island for his second Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Prior, he also won a Stanley Cup in 1994-95 with the New Jersey Devils.  Remember Ray Bourqe’s transfer to the Avs for his chance?  Great moment s are delivered to the fans, and these veterans get a shot because the league and players want to see it happen.  Fans feel the elation of players like Guerin and Bourque to fulfill their final goal.

Doug Weight, also 38, stayed on the Island and is now taking time to work with rookie John Tavares. Weight won a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2005-06 season.  His influence is crucial for the rebuilding Islanders where mentoring is vital to the team’s cohesion.   Veterans are valuable to the growth and development of a player to adapt to a new style and to new teammates.  The veterans also get to see the innovations and fresh approaches of the new squad.

Boston Bruin Mark Recchi, 41, has played for half of the eastern seaboard and has landed in Boston for what could be his final fun.   On October 12, 2009, Recchi scored his 546th goal of his NHL career.  The “Recchin’ Ball,” has won two Stanley Cups: 1990-91 with the Pittsburgh Penguins and in 2005-06 with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Newly crowned Captain Adam Foote has tons of skills to bestow on the third pick in the draft, Matt Duchene.  Foote is no stranger to success, winning two Stanley Cups in 1996 and 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche.   His leadership is adding excitement to this up and coming team in the Western Conference.

Dwayne Roloson, 40, stood out behind the net last year in Edmonton.  Far away from his family, the goaltender knew his years were dwindling.  The distance, the traveling, the tough play and hawkish puck monitoring can exhaust older players.  Hockey is a tough job.

With a flare for toughness, readiness and willingness, the NHL veteran players deserve our last look before they retire.  Joe Sakic’s retirement was painful for the Colorado Avalanche community, Steve Yzerman’s last game made me cry, and Gretzky’s last call was a national event.  Enjoy the season and the seasoned players before it’s over.