Saturday, April 16, 2011
Chris Chelios began his NHL career during President Ronald Regan's first term in office back in 1984 with the Montreal Canadiens, who drafted him 40th overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, with 12 regular season and 15 playoff games following his participation in the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.
In his first full season in the NHL, he scored 64 points in 74 games and came in second in Rookie of the Year voting behind Mario Lemieux and participated in his first NHL All-Star Game. The next season, Chelios contributed 19 points in 21 games as the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup.
After two more solid seasons, which included point totals of 44 and 61, plus another 28 playoff games combined, Chelios would capture the Norris Trophy for the 1988-89 season in which he would set a career high with 73 points as Montreal returned to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The following season saw Chelios limited to 53 games and Montreal ousted in the first round of the playoffs. During the offseason, Chelios was traded, along with a second round draft pick to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for future Hall of Famer Denis Savard. ending his time in Montreal after seven seasons.
The return to his native Chicago agreed with Chelios, as he earned a place in his third NHL All-Star Game and began a long streak of durability that would last eight seasons. Aside from the strike shortened season of 1994-95 in which he played all 48 games, Chelios would play no less than 72 games a season, topping 80 four times.
The 1991-92 season saw the Blackhawks return to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1973, as Chelios scored 21 points and earn a +19 rating in 18 games. The following season Chelios equalled his career high of 73 points while playing in all 84 games.
1995-96 saw Chelios named captain of the Blackhawks and play in his sixth consecutive NHL All-Star Game as well as topping 70 points for the third time in his NHL career. Following that season Chelios' offensive production would decline, as he would never score as many as 50 points in a season again, but he would continue his rugged, minutes eating playing style.
The 1997-98 season saw Chelios play in his 1,000th NHL game on this date, now during the second term of Bill Clinton's Presidency, having already played through Reagan's second term, George H. W. Bush's time in office and Clinton's first term.
Chelios would spend one more season in Chicago before, at age 37, he would be traded to the Detroit Red Wings for Anders Eriksson and a pair of first round draft picks, ending a nine year run in Chicago.
Today's featured jersey is a 1988-89 Montreal Canadiens Chris Chelios jersey, as worn by Chelios during the first season in which he would play 80 games in a season on his way to 1,651 games, currently 5th all time.
Montreal would go on to play in the Stanley Cup Finals that season, the second finals appearance of Chelios' career.
Our first video today is not the usual hockey highlights, but a look instead at Cheli's Chili Bar, Chelios' restaurant in Detroit, Michigan.
Here, Chelios accepts his 1993 Norris Trophy, the second of three in his career, with unexpected results and candor.
Of course, any mention of Chelios, allows us the opportunity to once more share our favorite hockey video ever - the Inglewood Jack.