Chris Chelios recently asked Ron Wilson if he could get a job with the Maple Leafs (thanks to The Sun for breaking this news). He’s certainly one of the greatest American players to have played the game and there is no doubt he was serious when he asked this question due to his passion for the game. Obviously, that doesn’t mean you get sentimental and give a 47 year old a job on your team.
It’s clear that he is a passionate player who will do anything to lace up the skates and play in the NHL one more time. The problem is that he was starting to slow down and it seems his body is starting to say “It’s time retire Chris”, while his mind is saying “Come on Chris you’re still young!”. Seriously, if Chris came up and asked Wilson the same question perhaps 10 years ago, he would have been signed before he could say anything else, unfortunately he just asked way too late.
There are many reasons why he wouldn’t even be considered these days, firstly we have an abundance of defenders and are already going to be sitting out NHL ready defensemen due to the amount of guys we have. Chris Chelios certainly has all the traits that Burke covets from his players but he lacks in one thing that even he can’t change and that’s age. The amount of experience he has is invaluable and the amount of respect Burke has for him is clear as he has Chris at the US Camp to help with the players.
There is one thing though that should be done now that Chelios has started to talk a bit. Perhaps we could offer him a job helping the players because the amount of knowledge he has on all aspects of the game could help our youth big time. Obviously, it seems that Chris is just not ready to give up his pursuit for a contract, and as usual he’s putting up a fight until the end and you have to commend him for that no doubt about it. I wish he gets a contract cause he’s been one of my favourite players over the years just for the way he approaches the game and the way he conducts himself with the fans, media and his own teammates. If players want a role model to follow then Chris Chelios certainly wouldn’t be a bad choice.
We can all hope that he gets what he wants, but I am sure Burke will always have a spot open for him and if he doesn’t then he will probably create a new position just for Chelios. Sadly, that position won’t be on the ice I am afraid. Thanks for asking though Chris.