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Chelios set to play for Griffins this weekend

by Randy Cleves / Detroit Red Wings
Chris Chelios will play in Grand Rapids this weekend on a conditioning stint meant to help him get ready to return to the Wings' lineup.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios is expected to be assigned to the Griffins for conditioning on Friday, take part in that day’s 10 a.m. practice at Van Andel Arena, then play in the Griffins’ home games against Toronto at 7 p.m., and Hamilton on Saturday at 8 p.m.

Chelios, 46, fractured his right tibia blocking a shot in a Detroit preseason game on Sept. 30 and returned to practice with the Red Wings on Tuesday. The second-oldest player in NHL history behind only Gordie Howe, Chelios is preparing to play in his 25th NHL season, which would tie him with Mark Messier for second all-time behind Howe’s 26 campaigns.

A three-time Stanley Cup champion, three-time Norris Trophy winner, four-time United States Olympian and 11-time NHL All-Star, Chelios will become the fifth Red Wings star to suit up for the Griffins on a conditioning stint, joining Curtis Joseph (2003-04), Manny Legace (2005-06), Chris Osgood (2005-06) and Darren McCarty (2007-08).

The future Hall of Famer would also become the oldest player in the 73-year history of the American Hockey League, supplanting former Hershey Bears trainer William “Scotty” Alexander, who was thrown between the pipes in an emergency during the 1953-54 season at the tender age of 45.

Chelios’ 1,616 regular season games played rank first among active NHL players, first all time among American-born players and sixth in NHL history, while his 1,876 combined playoff and regular season contests stand fourth all time. The NHL’s active leader in penalty minutes, he ranks 12th all time with 2,873 PIM and eighth all time among defensemen with 763 assists.

While helping the Red Wings capture the 2008 Stanley Cup championship, he appeared in the playoffs for an NHL-record 23rd time – having missed the postseason only once (1997–98) in his entire career – and became the league’s all-time leader with 260 playoff games played. Chelios, who captained both Montreal (1989) and Chicago (1992) to the Stanley Cup Finals, is the only player in NHL history to play 400 games for three different teams (Montreal 402, Chicago 664, Detroit 550).
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