Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Chelios to stay in Detroit

The Red Wings and defenseman Chris Chelios are all but finished working out a deal which will bring the NHL's oldest player (42) back for another year, reports the Detroit Free Press today. According to to the man himself, a base salary has been agreed upon and all that's left is to decide on what his bonuses will be. He is expected to earn a little less than $3 million, after getting $6 million last year. Chelios was aquired at the trade deadline in 1999 and has become an important part of the Red Wings' defense. Although is age would cause most teams to avoid him, the Wings recognize the good of keeping him around as a veteran leader for the younger defensemen on the team. He is still in great shape and is considered to be one of the toughest players on the team by the coaching staff. Right now, he is in California at his off-season home training hard and staying in shape. Wings fans last saw him on the ice in during Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals against Calgary when he went down with a shoulder injury. Chelios said that the only reason it took this long for a deal to be made was because the Wings' first priority was to bring back Kris Draper. I'm happy with this news since I know Cheli is still valuable and that it's not a waste of Wings' money to bring him back. He won't play as much next season because he is getting old and that will force his minutes to go down, great shape or not, but that's not where his greatest value comes in to play. At this point, he's not being brought back so much for his playing ability but for what he can teach guys like Jiri Fischer, Niklas Kronwall and Jamie Rivers. It was much the same case with Igor Larionov being a mentor to Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. I think it's a good choice by the Wings, though after this year, Chelios should retire.


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