Here's to Day 4 of Tough Guys Month with Hall Of Famer Chris Chelios, he who could slash the back of a forward's leg better than anyone in the game.
And yet, what we remember most of him is that he played until he was 48, with an NHL-record 26 seasons and an NHL-record 24 postseason berths and having captained two Original Six teams (the Montréal Canadiens and the Chicago Blackhawks). He won Stanley Cups with two Original Six teams (the Habs in 1986, and the Detroit Red Wings in 2002 and 2008) and is currently the all-time leader for games played by a defenseman (fifth overall).
Selected to an astonishing 11 All-Star Games, the three-time Norris Trophy winner (1989, 1993 and 1996) was a mainstay on end-of-season All-Star Teams, making the All-Rookie Team in 1985, the First All-Star Team in 1989, 1993, 1995, 1996 and 2002, and the Second All-Star Team in 1991 and 1997.
Internationally, he was on the Team USA squad that won the 1996 World Cup, and he also has a silver medal from the 2002 Olympics. His team finished second at the 1991 Canada Cup. He captained his national team at the 1998, 2002 and 2006 Olympics, as well as the 2004 World Cup. Of course, he retired having played the highest number of best-on-best games in IIHF history, with 47.
He had talent, he had drive, and he was mean. He played hard and he partied hard. He was, indeed, the total package.
Here he is with the Wings, on card #GJ-CC from Upper Deck's 2014-15 Series 2 set and UD Game Jersey sub-set:
Fellow former Junior Hockey player and local musician Bob Bissonnette had written a song about him a few years back; I was supposed to go see him play live on September 30th, but he died in a helicopter crash just a couple of weeks prior.