Is this the End of the Road for Chelios?

On Friday night in Montreal, 30 young men will get started with their careers as hockey professionals when they are selected in the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. But yesterday in Detroit, one old warrior was telling the world that he wants to hang on for just one more year. ↵

↵The man I'm talking about is pending free agent defenseman Chris Chelios. At a press conference at his restaurant in Detroit, Chelios told the locals that the Red Wings have already said that they don't want him back next season. Truth be told, it was hard to tell if they even really wanted him around this year, as the veteran defenseman only played in 28 regular season games before making six appearances in postseason. ↵

↵

↵When he did get on the ice in the playoffs -- and we ought to remember that we didn't see Chelios at all in the Finals against Pittsburgh -- it was clear that Detroit head coach Mike Babcock didn't have a whole lot of faith in him, as he averaged only 7:21 of ice time per game. ↵

↵

↵Chelios, one of the greatest American defenseman to ever play the game, can’t be blamed for not wanting to give up on life in the NHL, even as the evidence begins to mount that it has passed him by. In fact, one could say that he's been around so long, that it's hard to remember that there was a time when he was among the most feared two-way defensemen in the game. ↵

↵

↵I've never been one to write that it's time for a player to retire. And if Chelios does manage to hook on with another team next season, I'll certainly crack a smile. Being over 40 myself, it's impossible not to root for an old warrior like him. Then again, it's impossible for me to foresee a situation where Chelios, who went pointless in the regular season, will be able to play the sort of minutes that you know he still thinks he can. ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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