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Should the Blackhawks sign Chris Chelios?

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Chris Chelios was all smiles in 1996 after signing a three-year extension with the Blackhawks worth $10.5 million. (Sun-Times file)

The man who many deem the best American-born hockey player ever to don an NHL uniform is a free agent. Chris Chelios, the Chicago native who played for the Blackhawks from 1990-99, is no longer a Detroit Red Wing.  

The decision not to re-sign the 47-year-old defenseman doesn't come as a surprise, as he only played 28 games last season for the Stanley Cup runners-up after suffering a leg injury early in the season.

From the Detroit News:

General manager Ken Holland met with Chelios on Monday and officially told him the Wings wouldn't be bringing him back after 10 seasons.

"It was kind of understood last summer that the 2008-09 season would be the last one for Cheli as a Red Wing," said (General Manager Ken) Holland, noting the need for the Wings to bring in young players such as Jonathan Ericsson. "Cheli wants to play another season, and I believe he can still play."

Holland went on to call Chelios "a perfect role model for young players." The average age in the Blackhawks locker room last year was 25.5 -- meaning the team certainly has its share of young players.

What do you think, Hawks fans? His former GM says he can still play. So, do you want Cheli back at the United Center in a Blackhawks uniform for the 2009-10 season? Would this proven winner be a welcome role model for these baby Blackhawks, or does the team simply not require the services of a 47-year-old defenseman? 
Cheli's story: From despised to adored [Detroit Free Press]

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23 Comments

Just say no to Chelios!

We need to give ice time young talent now, so that they will be ready for a run at the Cup in another year or so. Signing Chris will only delay the development of our players. Look to the future, not to the past.

Cheli was a liability for the Wings this playoff season in the few games that he played. He is compromising his legendary status by holding on too long. The man is a champion and will surely be in the hall of fame. However, it's time to bow out gracefully before it becomes a joke... if it hasn't already.

Hell NO! Guy is a jerkoff, he turned his back on this City a long time ago. The Hawks have changed he needs to move on!

He did not turn his back on the City you douche, he was traded. His services were needed on a team that could contend. Stop being an ignorant ass. Just because someone plays for a team outside the City of Chicago, doesn't make them traitors.

The Blackhawks SHOULD bring Cheli back for a "Chris Chelios Night" and show highlights of his play all night. They SHOULD bring him back as a bench or practice coach. They SHOULD open a Cheli's Chilli at the UC.

They SHOULD NOT bring him back as a player. He was great for this team, he is still loved here, but the Hawks are going in a different direction and they do not need his services on the ice anymore.

Sorry, Babs, but you're half right - he did turn his back because he to ok the trade - which he did - to a team he vowed he'd never play for. Stay away from here, Cheli.

Probably no, unless its determined the Hawks were seeking on and off ice leadership---which this past season, seemed to say no they are not. Getting that far into the playoffs as they did with the youth they have needs only to be tweaked this off season to go further

Just today they announced Brett Hulls approval for the Hockey HOF...retire Chelli and soon your announcement will come. Dont go out embarrassing yourself by playing another season, with any NHL Club.

You've had a great run---know when to retire. Chicago doesnt need what you might bring. We already have it.

I like Cheli but its time to call it a day. I don't think giving him a roster spot when we have younger talent is a good idea. Let Cheli come back as an ambassador.

As much as I love Chelios, Jim Kerr is exactly right.

The Blackhawks made it to the Western Conference finals with their young defensive core and picked up a ton of experience along the way. Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Brian Campbell, Cam Barker et al. are fine without him.

I think management should work on keeping the current core of players together as long as possible.

Listen, if Cheli didn't mind being a healthy scratch for all but 28 games with the Wings, I would take him in the same role with the Hawks. I would rather have Cheli's experience and attitude on our bench and in our practices everyday than a guy like Brent Sopel. Play him sparingly and let him mentor Hljamarsson, Barker, and Seabiscuit. Its a win-win. Good PR and an extra coach on the ice at practice and in the locker room.

Jim from Oak Park: If you were playing on a team stuck in the basement, wouldn't you ok a trade to a team that can contend for a championship? I'm sure hoisting The Cup at the end of the year is more important to these guys than their address or "allegiances" to hometown fans. Lavaman, you sound like an idiot. You ever spend more than 30 seconds around the guy to be able to back up calling him a jerkoff? You're probably the same moron we all hear on the radio talkin about fire and passion.

And while they are at it why not sign Roenick and find out where Belfour is too.There is a reason why Detroit didn't offer him a contract.He had a nice career .I think it's time to retire

His former GM says he can still play,But you notice they didn't sign him

No stay at your Detroit team sorry you. Had a chance and took the easy road to the cup
our Black hawks don't Need someone of that age
to help us win the cup we are fine the way it is a few changes with some young guns is what
we need . I say spend the money on se one we can use not Carrie on some dead weigh
you should retired your number there no ro
on the UC for it.

sure, why not? the hawks rule and this is cheli's home town. just sign him for one season. it would be cool to have him back, even if he does not get much ice time. just don't be a fool and pay him millions of dollars! he'd be a good role model for the young guys on the team and be able to share yrs worth of experience. i say go for it.

He wasn't a traitor, I don't blame him for leaving at that time. Who wanted to play for the Wicked Witch of the West(Papa Wirtz)then.
I take him as a bench coach, but not a player

if the hawks sign Cheli, I sell my season tickets!

I'm 47 and struggling with losing my youth. Chelios is 47. Bring him back, so I can deny reality for at least another year.

My answer is... NO... NO... AND NO!

I like Chelios and I would like to see him RETIRE before it becomes slap-stick comedy capers. He is a Hall of Famer and the Blackhawks still love him, although he became a traitor after he did vow that he would never wear a red chicken wing sweater. I still remember that clearly.

Besides the Blackhawks have a young core of talent and need to focus on getting rid of Huet & Khabbi and possibly look into a deal with Luongo and a BIG SOLID DEFENSEMAN (that can shoot hard from the point) in their efforts of making a serious run at the cup.

I've said for the past 4 years that he should retire as a Blackhawk, and I still think he should.
If the cost isn't too much,go for it. Why don't we take
Hossa off the Deadwings hands while we're at it? Hossa and Havlat
could get the magic going again,like they did in Ottowa.

Bringing Cheli back whould not only bring more fans back but would keep the fans commming. By getting cheli it would be the start of a new committed relationship between the hawks and the the greatest american hockey player of all time. It could lead to a number 7 hanging in the rafters and chelios appreances with his hollywood friends at hawks games and hawk functions. Chelios alone could make the hawks the number one team in chicago. The hawks D has no experience and little skill. Tallon wasted a lot of money on Campbell and now has an opportunity to redeem himself. Chelios will not be expensive and his leadership on and off the ice will go a lot further than more playing time for scrub defencemen. I know Mcdounagh is drooling for this signing

The blackhawks need vets but not chelios

If we were looking for a 3rd string d-man, i'd totally say to go for it. He is a wealth of knowledge. All of our defenseman could learn a LOT from him. But, we have a decent defensive setup going right now. It does need some ironing out. I think Cheli would be awesome to have around. But, we don't need him as a full-time player unfortunately.

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