Chris Chelios

Hockey legends like Brady leaving Patriots Orr Howe Hull Brodeur
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With Brady leaving Patriots, remember these hockey legends in places you forgot

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As mind-blowing as it is to type this, it’s true: Tom Brady said goodbye to the Patriots on Tuesday. It’s something that’s difficult to process, even if you’re not a Patriots or even a football fan. Yet, as Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra chronicles for baseball, legends donning strange uniforms late in their careers is no new phenomenon, and certainly not limited to the land of pigskins. So what about hockey and the NHL, then?

Hockey fans have been treated to quite a few one-team legends, including Mario Lemieux saving the Penguins more than once.

Even so, there are plenty of legends who ended spent time in jerseys that just felt wrong. Let’s ponder the hockey answers to Brady leaving the Patriots, Johnny Unitas on the Chargers, Michael Jordan with the Wizards, and Babe Ruth on the Boston Braves.

Orr down hockey Brady comparison
(Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque leave Boston with very different results

At least with Brady, Boston-area fans couldn’t reasonably ask for more. Meanwhile, Bobby Orr’s career concluded with questions of “What could have been?”

Knee injuries ravaged his later career, and after 10 seasons, Orr left the Bruins for the Blackhawks. Between two seasons, Orr could only appear in 26 games for Chicago.

In something of a sequel, the Bruins traded Ray Bourque during his 21st season with the team, setting the stage for Bourque to eventually win a Stanley cup inspiring enough to essentially demand a parade in Boston.

Brodeur Blues Brady leaving Patriots hockey comparison
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Brodeur finishes with the Blues

If Orr on the Blackhawks isn’t the Brady comparison you think of for hockey, then it’s probably Brodeur appearing in seven games for the Blues after winning three Stanley Cups, four Vezinas, and setting the all-time wins record over 1,259 games with the Devils.

(That contrast still makes me chuckle, to be honest.)

As awkward as Brodeur’s brief Blues stint was, it lacked the angst of how Orr’s career ended. That might make it closer to a 1:1 hockey comparison for Brady, although the QB could easily prove that his tank isn’t empty.

Much of this list shows examples of players trying to prove that they could still play, with most sputtering out after running on fumes.

(Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

Hull of a change, and Howe

Bobby Hull already experienced quite a journey going from the Blackhawks to the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets (scoring 303 goals in the WHA alone). Hull’s final hockey and NHL season was especially odd, though, starting with 18 NHL games for the Jets before being traded to the Hartford Whalers, playing nine games for The Whale. Gordie Howe ended up being a Whalers teammate of Hull, which is … yeah, pretty mind-blowing. Bobby Hull also attempted a comeback with the Rangers.

(Howe’s legendary career featured quite the second [and maybe third?] acts after his Red Wings days, including playing with his sons, and somehow managing 15 goals and 41 points with the Hartford Whalers at age 51.)

Bobby’s son Brett Hull experienced a journeyman career of his own. Brett convinced the Coyotes to unretire Bobby’s number 9, but that story ended with a whimper (five games) as Brett realized he couldn’t adjust to the post-lockout style of play in 2005-06.

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Random Red Wings

If you’re playing trivia and “This player finished his career/briefly played for this team …” comes up, blurting out Detroit Red Wings isn’t the worst bet.

Lightning round, sometimes involving Lightning

  • Mats Sundin stunned Maple Leafs fans by joining the Canucks. There was some Alfredsson-like logic of linking Sundin with fellow Swedes Henrik and Daniel Sedin, yet the experiment lasted just 41 games.
  • Brian Leetch playing for the Maple Leafs was a little strange, but Leetch in a Bruins sweater will never look right.
  • Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens legend, as a Quebec Nordique? Yes, that happened. Jacques Plante bounced around quite about post-Habs, too, including eight games with the (gasp) Bruins.
  • Like Plante, Grant Fuhr pinballed around the NHL quite a bit after parting ways with the Oilers, but joining the Flames? Wow. Fuhr didn’t just play for the Calgary Flames, either, as he suited up twice for the Saint John Flames.
  • File Ed Belfour and Igor Larionov under “people you might not have known played for the Panthers.”
  • Olaf Kolzig was persistent in Washington as Godzilla could be in Tokyo, playing 711 of his 719 games for the Capitals. The eight other games came with the Lightning. (Vincent Lecavalier playing for the Kings was strange, but softened by his years with the Flyers.)

Feel free to mention other fish-out-of-water memories in the comments. Also, if you had to guess, which hockey legend will Brady mirror the most?

(Hopefully we won’t ever get that “Halloween Olajuwon as a Raptor vs. Patrick Ewing with the Magic” feeling from Brady’s final act.)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Red Wings announce assistant coaches, including Chelios and Granato

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The Detroit Red Wings announced new head coach Jeff Blashill’s assistants on Tuesday, and you may notice some familiar names.

Tony Granato, Pat Ferschweiler, Chris Chelios (pictured) and Dave Noel-Bernier will be in the mix, while Jim Bedard returns as goalie coach.

The Red Wings noted that Granato and Ferschweiler will be behind the bench with Blashill while Noel-Bernier serves as a video coach; the team merely said that Granato “will have an increased role.”

MLive.com’s Ansar Khan provides a little more insight: it sounds like Chelios will (logically) work with defensemen.

This all continues a changing of the guard in the Red Wings organization, as Blashill jumps to the NHL level to replace Mike Babcock. Former Edmonton Oilers interim head coach (and experienced AHL bench boss) Todd Nelson is at the helm in Grand Rapids, too.

The 2015-16 season may present some uncomfortable changes, yet the Red Wings still seem to be in some capable hands.

Chelios to meet with the Red Wings next week

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With Jeff Blashill officially named the club’s 27th head coach in franchise history on Tuesday, the Detroit Red Wings are now working on filling out his staff.

According to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, Blashill and GM Ken Holland will meet with Chris Chelios next week. Chelios, who has served as an advisor to hockey operations since retiring in 2010, has worked with Blashill in Grand Rapids.

The 53-year-old occasionally went on the ice during practice to work with the Griffins’ defensemen.

TSN’s Aaron Ward reported earlier in the week that Chelios was a likely candidate to join Blashill’s coaching staff.

Chelios spent parts of 10 seasons in Detroit as a player winning Stanley Cups in 2002 and 2008.

The Red Wings are also in talks with Tony Granato about a possible extension after he declined the option on his contract for next season.

“We’re still in the process of getting the right guys and putting the staff together,” Blashill said on Tuesday. “Within a week we’d like to have it settled. Put the best staff together and get to work.”

Related: Holland, Cleary will meet next week to decide future in Detroit

Jagr keeps playing because he ‘wants to have fun’

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The career of Jaromir Jagr is a fascinating thing to look at and at 42 years old, he’s showing no signs of letting up.

Jagr is playing for the Czech Republic at the 2014 World Championships and recently re-signed with the New Jersey Devils for another season. After starting with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1990, his philosophy for keeping at it is pretty simple as Stephen Whyno of The Canadian Press shared.

I want to have fun. As long as you have fun, everything is a lot easier,” Jagr said. “But you have to work hard, you have to love the game, and that’s what you do.”

Jagr said one of the things that keeps him ahead of the game at an older age is being smarter when playing and look for any advantage he can get. With so many younger, faster players out there, being the “wise veteran” has its place as well.

This past season with the Devils, he led the team in scoring with 67 points. He potted 24 goals and was one behind 23-year-old Adam Henrique for the team lead.

While guys like Teemu Selanne are hanging it up and Martin Brodeur is coming to the end of his road, Jagr just keeps on rolling along. Wonder if he’s talked to Chris Chelios about playing until you’re almost 50.

Chris Chelios may or may not be a big Jay Cutler fan

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Chris Chelios has always been a feisty guy whether on or off the ice. If TMZ has it right, he’s also a real treat to be around at the bar just so long as you’re not a big Chicago Bears fan.

TMZ believes they’ve got a video of Chelios at Stanley’s Kitchen and Tap in Chicago burning a Jay Cutler jersey.

Say what? Have a look for yourself at their site.

The catch here is you don’t actually see Chelios’ face and you only hear onlookers say his name. Unless you’re good at telling who someone is by seeing their arm or the back of their head, there’s no way for sure to know it’s actually him.

Chelios may still be loved by many Blackhawks fans, and taking Cutler to task may only make them love him more, but after all the time he spent playing for the hated Detroit Red Wings, Chicago fans may not feel too warm and fuzzy about him anyhow.

One thing’s for sure, if that is Chelios I definitely want to party with that guy.