Thursday, October 11, 2007

Red Wings' Chelios Figures He Has Only Ten More Good Years Left

Detroit, MI. (Oct. 12) - Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios, 45, said after the team's game Wednesday night that he fears he has but one more decade left in his body.

"It's getting closer," Chelios said of retirement. "I figure I've got about ten more good years left, and that's it."

When told that playing ten more years would make him 56 upon retirement, and give him well over 30 years of NHL seniority, the irascible defenseman sneered at the reporter who said it.

"And your point is?," Chelios said.

Chelios moved into eight place in all-time games played this week when he surpassed Alex Delvecchio with his 1,550th game played. But he has higher aspirations.

"Where am I at, 1,550? Cripes sake. When I'm done I wanna be damn near 2,200," Chelios said of his goal for games played in the NHL.

Chelios would like to repeat this scene from 2002 a few more times before hanging up his skates in 2018

In fact, Chelios said he'd like to move to forward and be on the Red Wings' no. 1 line.

"You've seen what I've been doing offensively," Chelios said, referring to his goal-scoring prowess in the pre-season, and his goal against Edmonton Monday. "Put me with Hank and Pavs, and you'll REALLY see what I can do," he said of star forwards Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.

When a reporter said that Chelios had exactly zero goals last season, the 23-year veteran responded by crunching him against the locker room wall with a brutal body check.

"Any other stat geeks want to ask a question?," Chelios then remarked.

After practice yesterday, Chelios raved about his physical conditioning.

"Really, I feel good. I feel like I have the body of a 36-year-old, which means I'll have the body of a 46-year-old when I retire in ten years, which is basically how old I am now, so I don't know what the big deal is, because I'm playing right now at 46 -- so why can't I play at 46 in ten years?," Chelios said to glassy-eyed reporters in the team's locker room.

Still, Chelios expressed a sense of urgency about his career.

"I'm in the twilight now," he said. "Well, maybe I'm approaching dusk. More like around 8:45 or so on a summer night. Is that twilight or dusk? I'm not good with science, but I do know this: I have maybe ten years, tops -- and then I'll have to seriously consider retirement."

When Chelios broke into the league, Ronald Reagan was president.

"Yeah, well he's dead now," Chelios said of Reagan, chuckling. "So what does that say about me?"

The oldest NHL player ever is Gordie Howe, who played for the Hartford Whalers at age 52, in 1980.

Chelios added that after he's done playing hockey, he'd like to try something else.

"I hear you can be a productive bocce ball player well into your 60s," he said.

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