The NHL’s all-time wins leader has every intention of adding to his total next season, even if it means he has to go to another team to do it.
No, we’re not talking about Martin Brodeur, who broke the all-time mark for goaltending victories earlier this week. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, fossil defenseman Chris Chelios of the Detroit Red Wings has played in more victories than any other player in NHL history.
According to Elias, Chelios has a total of 891 victories with the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks and Red Wings, breaking the previous high-water mark of 879 held by Scott Stevens.
But this has not been an easy season for the 47-year-old Chelios, who went into his one-year contract with the Wings this season knowing he’d be a part-time player. He was out with an injury until mid-December and since then has played just 22 games and been a healthy scratch in 21 more.
That, combined with the Red Wings’ depth on defense, has given Chelios pause to seriously examine his future.
“I think I could still help a bunch of other teams,” Chelios said.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as though the Red Wings are one of them. Detroit, in case you haven’t noticed, is rather well-stocked on defense and next season it will have to find room for highly touted prospect Jonathan Ericsson, who is on a one-way contract and would have to clear waivers in order to be sent to the minors next season.
Chelios isn’t the least bit bitter about his situation, but realizes if he wants to play on a regular basis it will almost certainly have to be somewhere other than Detroit.
“I knew it was going to happen sooner or later, so I can’t say I’m surprised,” Chelios said. “There’s a lot of talent and depth here. I’m just hoping we have a chance to go far in the playoffs and maybe win another Cup and see what happens. Maybe something crazy will happen and I’ll end up signing here again.”
If he were to do so, Chelios would again have to accept the reality of being a part-time player and he’s not sure he wants to do that. He said his preference would be to join an Original Six team, but the most important factor for him is whether or not he’ll get a chance to play. But that might be a tall order, considering Chelios is pushing 50.
“You just want an opportunity,” he said. “I know I can still play.”
ROLL THE VIDEO
Today officially represents a new era here at The Hockey News and THN.com. In an effort to bring more rounded coverage, we are introducing video features on our website.
Already and in the coming weeks, we’ll be posting videos of the weekly THN Radio Show on XM Satellite Radio and a variety of other projects. Occasionally, we’ll be supplementing our coverage in the magazine with a video story.
Our first attempt is a video piece that appears on the website today about an 11-year-old hockey player named Matthew Kostuch, whose life was turned upside down by a headshot. He is still feeling the lingering effects of a concussion 15 months after the injury.
It brings into focus the debate in hockey concerning whether bodychecking should be introduced and taught properly at a young age or used later when children are more physically developed.
No matter where you stand on the debate, we trust you’ll find young Matthew’s tale a compelling one.
You can view the video HERE.
GOOD ON OVIE
Alex Ovechkin’s celebration after his 50th goal of the season was undoubtedly over the top and probably ill advised.
But it’s clear that, by doing it, Ovechkin made a bold statement that he couldn’t possibly care less what Canada’s National Windbag or anyone else thinks of the way he celebrates goals. And you’d have to think he’s not terribly concerned about said windbag’s prediction that “somebody will cut him in half.”
Ken Campbell, author of the book Habs Heroes, is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Wednesday and Fridays and his column, Campbell’s Cuts, appears Mondays.
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