Chris Chelios and Brendan Shanahan will always be linked as teammates — winning a Stanley Cup together with Detroit in 2002 — and as members of the 2013 Hockey Hall of Fame induction class.
Yet the two are definitely not fans of each other.
On Wednesday, Chelios appeared on TSN 1050 to promote his book, Overtime, in which he rips Shanahan for being “concerned about his image.” Chelios used the interview as an opportunity to delve deeper into the rift:
There’s not much of a relationship, unfortunately. [Shanahan] is how he is. He’s more like a politician and if you like politicians, then he’s your guy. I don’t like politics and I explained that in my book.
Chelios then offered some candid analysis on Shanahan getting the Maple Leafs presidency:
Q: Do you think he’s well-suited for the job he has here in Toronto?
Well, his resume, his experience… the fact he got the job, to me, I’m putting my time in the minors, traveling and learning how to coach. He took that job with no experience. I guess you could count his career and that, but like I said — anybody can GM, anybody can be a president. Whether you’re going to be good at it or not, who knows. It remains to be seen.
Chelios is currently serving as a executive advisor to Detroit GM Ken Holland, the same position Steve Yzerman held before taking the general manager gig in Tampa Bay. Other ex-players-turned-presidents (Cam Neely with Boston, Joe Sakic in Colorado) worked their way up the front office ladder in a similar fashion. That said, the Shanahan hire in Toronto was hardly unique; Vancouver hired Trevor Linden as its president this offseason despite Linden having no previous managerial experience.
For what it’s worth, Chelios did refer to Shanahan as a “great player,” adding he “didn’t have too many teammates better than him.” But it’s clear there’s a canyon-sized split between the pair, one that isn’t going to be closed anytime soon.