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Alumni Reunion: Tim Cheveldae

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
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Tim Cheveldae played nine NHL seasons with three different clubs, incuding the Red Wings, the team that drafted him in the fourth round in 1986. Cheveldae is fifth on the Wings' all-tim wins list with a 128-93-30 record with a 3.39 goals-against average.

Do you keep in touch with any of your former Red Wings teammates? If so, who?
The only time we meet is if we have any social events or if I go back to Detroit, but nobody on a regular basis. I talk to Dave Lewis a couple times a year, and Mike Sillinger lives in Regina (Saskatchewan), which is about two and a half hours south of here, so every once in a while we see each other at events and things.

Which of the current Red Wings is your favorite? And why?
Well, I played with Nick Lidstrom, and I think he’s arguably top-three as far as greatest defensemen that ever played in my opinion. I think he is just as good as everybody thinks he is, I think he’s actually better.

What was your favorite memory as a Red Wing?
Probably coming back, beating Minnesota at the time we were down 3-1 (in the series) and we came back to win in Game 7 in 1992.

Which of the guys you played with was the toughest?
Bob Probert, his physicality I would say. Certainly, he’s probably one of the toughest fighters that every played the game.

Who was the funniest?

Shawn Burr was pretty quick with the quips and the sharp tongue, and he wasn’t shy to voice it either. He hasn’t changed, you know exactly what I‘m talking about.

Who had the biggest heart?

The guy that comes to mind right off the hop was Gerald Gallant, and Steve Yzerman would certainly be up there.

What was your favorite restaurant in metro Detroit?

I can’t think of the name, but I lived in Farmington Hills, and it was on a corner and a lot of times after games I would stop … I can’t think of the name, but they had this chicken dish that a lot of times after games I would go to. It was on 10 Mile or 11 Mile, and one of those roads there. I lived on 14 Mile and Haggerty and Halsted. Every once in a while I’d go back, and I don’t think it’s there anymore.

How has the NHL changed since you played?

Three things come to mind. Coaching, as far as way more time spent on systems. Players are in way better shape now as far as conditioning, so speed is a lot greater, and goaltending now is a lot better. They are way better athletes, and they make saves that I think a lot of us would just dream of.

Toughest team (other than the Red Wings) when you played?

The Chicago Blackhawks. We played them sometimes 10, 12 games a year. Of course Mike Keenan was their coach, and they had (Mike) Peluso, (Stu) Grimson, Chris Chelios was a key part, and even though he didn’t drop the gloves, he played a physical game. Playing in that small little rink, you had to play a physical game

Who did you sit next to in the dressing room?

Besides the other goalie, I sort of had my own stall, so at the end of my career it was Chris Osgood, but I had Greg Millen, Vincent Riendeau, Allan Bester.

What do you love most about the game?
Probably the competition, getting on the ice, winning as a team. There’s no greater feeling then coming off the ice in a hard-fought battle, and you’re all sweaty, and you look around and you accomplished something as team. And secondly would be the camaraderie, as far as being with the players, being with the guys.

Who had the greatest influence on your career?

I get asked that question, and there wasn’t really one person that came to mind as far as ‘This was the guy that led me down this road or down this path.’ I had a baseball coach; he was actually my first hockey coach. We lived in a little town so it wasn’t uncommon that we would have the same coaches, and I think he taught me about how to be professional, the way you approach the game, the way you handle yourself, the way you conduct yourself.

What advice would you give to kids playing today?

Make sure you’re playing for fun, and pay attention to details, the little things. Take pride in all the little details of the game. A lot of times it’s focused -- if you’re a forward -- on points and scoring, but there’s a lot more to the game then just that and you want to take pride in those areas.
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