Chris Chelios will visit the Bradley Center on Wednesday night when the Admirals host the Chicago Wolves. The soon-to-be 48 year old defenseman has participated in four Olympics, won three Stanley Cups and three Norris Trophies as the NHL’s outstanding defenseman.
The first time I remember seeing Chelios play, I was 10 years old. He was playing for the 1984 Olympic Team and they faced the Soviet ‘B’ Team in an exhibition game at the old Met Center in Bloomington, MN. At the time, I was more fascinated with the line of Ed Olczyk, Pat LaFontaine and David A. Jensen. I also really liked former Admirals goalie Bob Mason (Minn-Duluth) and defenseman Tom Hirsch (Minnesota).
With Chelios making his way to town, the office at 510 W. Kilbourn has been debating the greatest American hockey players. With the help of long-time UW coach Jeff Sauer, Chicago Wolves announcer Jason Shaver, Mike Wojciechowski and Ryan Costello, here’s a list of, what we deem, the top five:
5. Neal Broten – This is more of a sentimental pick. Broten was the first American to score 100 points in a single season. He’s also the only player to win a NCAA championship, Olympic Gold and a Stanley Cup.
4. Mike Richter – A fantastic goalie in Madison while an amateur, Richter was a multi-time Olympian and had his number retired by the New York Rangers.
3. Pat LaFontaine – He is probably the most skilled American to play the game. LaFontaine spent his entire career in New York, with all three teams: Islanders, Sabres and Rangers.
2. Mike Modano – The top scoring American player ever.
1. Chelios – Gordie Howe played until he was 52. Former Chicago Wolves coach Don Granato said on “Milwaukee Admirals Center Ice” that Chelios was in the best shape and had the best work ethic of the players with the Wolves while Granato was there. I noted some of his accomplishments in the opening paragraph. He has played 1644 NHL games (4th All-Time) and accumulated 948 points.
Congratulations to Andreas Thuresson on his NHL debut Halloween night in Nashville’s win over Dallas.
From the “I’m not saying, I’m just saying…” department: Nashville is 4-2 without Jason Arnott in the lineup. The team scored ten goals in the seven games he played and 18 in the six he’s missed.
Chet Pickard’s favorite goalie: Roberto Luongo.
Until next time…Go Admirals!!!