DETROIT -- Chris Chelios
was asked what he would miss most about playing for the Red Wings, he responded quickly with one word.
The 47-year-old defenseman announced during a Wednesday press conference at his downtown Detroit restaurant that he would not be returning to the Wings for his 26th NHL season. However, the three-time Stanley Cup champion had only good things to say about his former team.
"I was with the Detroit Red Wings
at the best time you could possibly be, that's the way I look at it," Chelios said. "And I'm very fortunate to be a part of the last 10 years here."
Chelios played in 578 games with the Wings, recording 21 goals, 131 assists and 613 penalty minutes. He helped the Wings to Cup championships in 2002 and 2008.
Chelios leads all American-born NHL players in games played, with 1,644. He is the only player to skate in 400 games with three different NHL teams (Detroit, Chicago and Montreal). Chelios only skated in 28 games this season, but he said he was happy with the end result.
"I have no regrets," he said. "I was one game shy of winning the Stanley Cup, and it couldn't have gone any better."
The former assistant captain said that from the start of the season, it was a struggle for him to get into the line-up. Chelios talked about how he broke his leg in the preseason, and didn't perform the way he needed to after his return.
He didn't blame coach Mike Babcock for his line-up decisions.
"It had to happen," Chelios said of his lack of game action. "If I would have come out in exhibition and scored every game like I did two years ago, I would have assured myself a spot, it would have made it tough, but I never made it tough for (Babcock) to keep me in the line-up."
Chelios remains confident that he will play in the NHL next season.
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