And the hate was mutual. Probably about the time he made those comments to the Chicago media, I would've said something along the lines of "Yeah, well I wouldn't want you in Detroit." Now I own a friggin signed jersey of the man.
I still can't believe that we thought we were getting a rental when the Red Wings acquired Chelios at 1998-99's trade deadline--someone who would play a year or two and retire--and here we are getting ready to start the 2007-08 season and he's still playing for us.
Chelios played 402 games for the Canadiens, 664 for the Blackhawks, and if this season he plays the same number of games he did last year (71), he'll have played 552 for Detroit. It's amazing to think that the Red Wings acquired him at the age of 37 and he'll likely play more years in Detroit than he did with any other organization. If it weren't for the lockout, he'd be going on his tenth season as a member of the Detroit Red Wings.
Not bad for a rental who said he would never play for Detroit.
Update: Thanks to a link on Michigan's official ice hockey site, I found this excellent article on Jack Johnson from the NHL's site, featuring a lot of great quotes from Red Berenson. There were two things in the article that I found pretty interesting:
“He’s as ready as any player I’ve had as an underclassman,” he said, high praise from the coach that also mentored Marty Turco and John Madden. “There’s not many players that I would endorse and say it’s time for you to turn pro. But Jack is. He has been in that mode and he needs a challenge at the next level, whereas most kids have to stay and play at least four years before they’re ready for that. And even then, they may wind up playing a year or two in the minors. But Jack is a special player and he’s worked hard to get himself where he is, and he needs that challenge.”
I thought that it was kind of funny that the author mentioned John Madden, following a quote about Berenson thinking that a player was "ready for the NHL" given past history and all.
Also, it seems that JMFJ has flipped his thinking about whether he'd rather lay someone out than score a big goal. His quote from the article--
“That’s a tough call,” he said. “It probably depends on the person. I’d probably want to score a big goal instead of the big hit though, because goals win games. Big hits are momentum swingers and give you more of an intimidation factor, but being able to score goals and stop goals wins hockey games. That’s pretty much my job, to stop goals from being scored and being able to contribute on offense is a bonus.”
--goes in contrast to what he said a couple of years ago as he was getting ready to enter the University of Michigan. His quote back then--which has been my signature on the forums at Letsgowings.com ever since--read:
"I would much rather [break someone's jaw with a hit than score a goal], assuming we're not talking about the type of goal that would clinch a championship. My reasons are not sadistic, however. I simply feel that a big hit energizes a team more than a casual goal. A goal lifts the individual; a big hit lifts the entire squad. You never aim to injure somebody, but assuming the hit was clean, I would have to go with that over a goal."
I guess I need a new signature.