Welcome to my world, which primarily revolves around family, friends, sports of all stripes, and a passion for the written word! I'm a Boston-based freelance writer and editor, husband, father, hockey and soccer coach, and an unrepentant sports nut. And, like a lot of folks who refuse to grow up, I'm torn between Old School and "old's cool!" It's all about your perspective, and staying in the game.
I've been thinking about the Red Wings Chris Chelios a lot lately. The fact that the guy is only four years my junior (he's 47, I'm 51), but is still playing hockey in the best league in the world, on one of the best teams in the NHL, simply blows me away.
Today's post-lockout NHL is a young man's game, with its emphasis on speed and skill (as opposed to the clutch-and-grab tactics of the pre-lockout game). Yet Chelios can still compete, employing the veteran wiles amassed over the past two decades (for reference, the Penguins captain, Sidney Crosby, hadn't even been born when Chelios broke into the league!). And though I've never been a big fan of Chelios the player - my favorite Chelios moment is when Flyers goalie Ron Hextall pummeled him after Chelios, as a member of the Canadiens, had cheap-shot Brian Propp during the 1989 playoffs - you've got to admire the man's longevity. The guy's got guts and durability. Heck, I rarely get through my hour-long beer league games or 90-minute pick-up skates without getting bruised and battered, either mentally or emotionally. And that's "no check" hockey! (On the other hand, I probably have a few more post-game beverages!)
Still, I can't think of Chelios without my all-time favorite hockey video coming to mind. While Slap Shot is the uncontested king of hockey movies (and one of the best sports movies ever made), this clip of Chris Chelios waxing nostalgic about childhood coach Jules Winfield (Samuel L. Jackson, reprising his Pulp Fiction hitman character) is absolutely priceless. The goalie sequence is a classic - I may play like the Gimp these days, but I still like to employ a little Billy Smith-style frontier justice every now and then. Plus, I grew up next door to Englewood, New Jersey, so the "Englewood Jack" tactic stirs some fond memories too.
Without a doubt, the clip scores on a number of levels for this old jock. Enjoy! And don't forget to check out Hextall performing the Englewood Jack, flawlessly, on Chelios! ;-)