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Wings' Chelios keeps rolling along

Monday, 04.9.2007 / 12:00 AM ET / News
Detroit Red Wings
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Wings\' Chelios keeps rolling along
By Evan Grossman, Staff Writer

Chris Chelios isn't gunning for Gordie Howe.

Chelios, 45, will be the oldest defenseman to play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this spring, but the Detroit Red Wings rearguard has no intentions of sticking around long enough to become the oldest player at any position to compete in the playoffs. That mark belongs to Howe, who was 52-years-old when he last played in the postseason.

"I talked to Gordie Howe about two weeks ago and I promised him I would quit at 51," Chelios said. "He's Mr. Hockey."

If Howe is Mr. Hockey, then Chelios is Mr. Longevity. The most veteran player in the League today, Chelios has been a part of hockey for almost as long as ice has. This is going to be Chelios' record 22nd playoff appearance, moving him past Ray Bourque, who finished his career with 21 tournaments under his belt.

Even more remarkable than Chelios' longevity has been his knack for being a part of good teams. Out of 23 NHL seasons, he's only missed the playoffs once in his career. Once! His lone miss came in his final full season with the Chicago Blackhawks, when they missed the playoffs in 1998.

By that time, Chelios had already won a Stanley Cup with Montreal in 1986 and was seen in 14 straight playoff tournaments.

Chelios was traded to the Red Wings the following season and he's been in the playoffs every year since. Setting a North American professional sports record, Detroit has been to the playoffs 16-straight years and the franchise has accumulated over 100 points in seven-consecutive seasons. Chelios is a big reason why the Red Wings have been able to continue those impressive trends.

At a time when the NHL is being taken over by a widespread youth movement and many young players have played beyond their years, "Old Man" Chelios hasn't lost a step and is as steady on the blue line as he's ever been. A big reason for that is he's blessed with the right genetics. But an equally important aspect of his staying power is how much Chelios takes care of himself between games and away from the rink.

"I think it's just a little bit of everything," he says. "There's been a lot of guys over the past 10, 12 years that trained just as hard. I think I've been very fortunate that I met my trainer 14 years ago, T.R. Goodman, who basically was the first to do my type of training, I guess you want to call it circuit training. I changed my training. I've had to train because I can't do the impact training that I used to. I've been very fortunate to bounce back from the injuries that I've had.

"But like I said, when you last 23 years, that's just a little bit of everything and I think I look at other guys, the tragedies that they have been through and the injuries they have sustained, I've been very fortunate and I've remained healthy," Chelios said. "And I've just been able to fit in with the trainer in the last couple of years and not been able to uproot and move my family, which probably would been about the end of my career a few years ago if I had not been able to play with Detroit. The team has had a lot of success, and I think that's what's kept me around the longest for the most part I think."

Chelios is sixth on the all-time list with 228 playoff games played. He won Stanley Cups in 1986 and 2002 and he would very much like to win another one before he hangs up the skates forever. It was the Cup he won in 2002 that remains the highlight of his long career.

"If you look back, probably the biggest highlight has to be on the ice when we won the 2002 Cup with my two boys who were 15 and 14, or 14 and 13 at the time, to share that with two sons who love hockey as much as I do," Chelios said. "That was definitely the highlight of my career. You know, not making it any more important than the Cup that I won in Montreal, but I celebrated that alone, and to do it with my two boys and my family, it was something special. If you look at the guys and going through what I've gone through, it's a special thing to do as a parent."

And the man old enough to be the father of many NHL players would like to win one more before it's over. Before he gets as old as Gordie Howe.




1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38 is the official Web site of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit Red Wings and are trademarks of the Detroit Red Wings. NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks and Original Six is a trademark of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.
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