The Malik Report
by George Malik on 11/12/13 at 03:53 AM ET
I was a little late to the party, but I'm pretty sure that I snagged about 90% of the pre-Monday-evening Hockey Hall of Fame stories in Monday's practice post (no Chelios-P.K. Subban comparisons or Randy Carlyle talking an ex-roommate in Shanahan, but I did an OK job), and if you want to watch their induction speeches...Well, hell, they're worth re-posting...
But the Red Wings were there, and I'm pretty sure that when I say that, I mean the entire team, because the Wings took Red Bird III to Toronto to take in the event.
Brendan Shanahan spoke for 12 minutes...
He spoke with the NHL Network beforehand...
And his boss, who insisted to the Canadian Press's Stephen Whyno that Shanahan's current job is the most important thing Shanahan's ever done, spoke to the NHL Network, too:
Prior to his induction, the NHL posted a Shanahan "By the Numbers" video...
As well as a "ring ceremony" video...
And the HHOF'ers dropping the puck at Friday's Hall of Fame game:
TSN's Bob McKenzie, Pierre LeBrun and Gino Reda wrapped up the event on Monday night, too.
Shanahan's comments echoed those he'd written for the Hockey News in August...
When I got the call informing me I’d be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, it was a great day. Not just for the tremendous honor, but because I heard from so many former teammates, coaches and friends. When my playing days ended, I didn’t spend much time reflecting on my career. But on the day that call came and for the next couple days, it felt great just to talk like a hockey player again.
The first people who come to mind at a time like this are your immediate family, who make a lot of sacrifices for you along the way. So I thought of my mother, Rosaleen, who just turned 80, and my father, Donal, who was the first one to get me on skates. He passed away in 1990 and actually missed my pro career even when he was still alive because he had Alzheimer’s. Now that I’m a hockey dad, I see the sacrifices they made: early mornings, long car rides. It’s a lot of fun, but a lot of work.
One of my career highlights is winning that first Stanley Cup in Detroit in 1997. On that team, only Mike Vernon, Larry Murphy and Joey Kocur had previously won a Cup, so the rest of us were all first-timers. It was the first time in 42 years that the Red Wings had won.
Other highlights include winning gold at the 1994 World Championship, ending a 33-year drought for Canada, and being on the gold medal-winning 2002 Canadian Olympic team, which hadn’t won since 1952. It’s great to be part of any championship team, but when you’re part of one breaking a long drought it makes those moments even more special.
People remember championships, but they might not remember that you deal with huge failures as well. Once you make the NHL, you’ve learned about channelling disappointment, but there’s no point in dwelling on things in a negative way. You use it as fuel for the next time. The more heartbreaking and angering a loss was, the more it was about turning it into motivation for the next year. The 1998 Winter Olympics is a great example. The only thing that got me through the disappointment of losing in Nagano, Japan, was the determination that somehow I’d be a member of the team in 2002. I was fortunate to get that second chance.
I don’t know if you can properly articulate what this Hall of Fame honor means in a speech or interview. But I think when you approach anything in life with passion, people respect that. If you’re one of the fortunate few to play in the NHL, fans want to see that you appreciate it. I loved being a hockey player and I loved being on a team – starting from age five all the way until I retired at 40 years old. – with Adam Proteau
As also noted by NHL.com's Corey Masisak...
Shanahan told an emotional story about his parents. His father passed away when he was 21, and his mother got her driver's license when his dad got sick and would drive long distances to his junior games.
He thanked his older brothers for letting him play even when he was one of the weakest players, saying that motivation helped him get better and stayed with him when he was in the NHL.
Shanahan thanked his wife and his children, who didn't get to see him play much but have had the chance to watch a lot of old video this weekend.
He talked about the incredible feeling of winning a championship, even saying "with no disrespect Johnny Mac" to John McEnroe, who was in attendance, that there is no feeling in sports like winning a championship as a team.
Shanahan thanked New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello for drafting him and Jim Rutherford for being upfront with him about the direction of the Hartford Whalers and trading him to the team he wanted to go to, the Detroit Red Wings.
He alluded to Fred Shero’s famous words about walking together forever, and said he hopes those Detroit teams will be like the Flyers teams of the 1970s and still together years from now.
Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples...
“Like most players, the beginning for me started like a lot of guys – your mom and dad,” Shanahan said during his induction speech as part of the Class of 2013. “I’m no different. I was a bit of a rink rat, I had three older brothers, and while they were playing I had a little broken stick and I was running around the side of the rink and finding a corner to shoot a rolled up piece of tape. Somebody asked my father if he was going to sign me up, so he did, even if I was a little bit younger than the other kids. I was not only the worst player on my team, but I was the worst player in the entire league. But I still loved it. And I was completely unaware of this fact.”
Shanahan eventually became the best player in his league, and would be one of the best on the ice for the rest of his career. After all, he recorded 656 goals and 698 points over 1,524 NHL games. Oh yes, and he won three Stanley Cups and gold at the Olympics.
“My dad and my mom really did support me, specifically my father, because of the early mornings, my mom liked to sleep in a bit, my dad used to drive me to the rinks and drive me to practice and drive me to games and we developed a really close bond,” Shanahan said. “When I was turning 16, and my father was having trouble driving his car, and he gave me the keys, to forever drive to the games myself now with him as a passenger, there were two things that I didn’t know. The first, I had no idea that two years later I would be in the NHL. No idea. And the other was that five years later, my father was going to die of Alzheimer’s. I didn’t know that. Mom, Dad was only about 54 when he got sick, and you went out and got your driver’s license, and when I moved away from home later that year to play hockey in London, you drove to London every weekend to watch me play. You would spend the weekend, and we had some really good times. So Mom, you’re a hero to me, for doing that.”
Shanahan also pointed out that he benefited greatly from being the youngest in the family.
“My brothers, I was the youngest of four boys,” Shanahan said. “My mother and father were both immigrants from Ireland, so we were a rough and tumble house. My dad was a fireman, so we were a bunch of rough kids, and Brian, Danny, Shaun, you guys did the kindest thing that older brothers can do for the youngest boy. When you guys were going out the door with a lacrosse stick in your hand or a hockey stick in your hand, to play a little road hockey, and I said can I come, you said yes. It’s as simple as that. What doesn’t escape me now is, you were six, eight and 11 years older than me. That’s not always the coolest thing to do, to bring your little brother with your friends. I will say this, I’m convinced, and I’ve had time to reflect and I’ve tried to reflect on my career…I tried to reflect on how it happened, it was a big surprise to me. It was a big surprise that any of this happened. I would say those afternoons or those evenings with you guys, I was so much younger and so much smaller and so much weaker that I always had to go back home and hatch a plan on how I was going to be better next time, and how I was going to compete.
“That’s something I carried with me in the NHL. I wasn’t always the most talented player, but I always tried to find the will to figure out what I needed to do next and where I could improve and how I could help my team and what kind of a role could make me unique and helpful to my team. I wanted to thank you guys for doing that. You’re good big brothers.”
And the Newark Star-Leger's Rich Chere:
“When I was about eight or nine years old he caught me with a piece of chalk I had taken from school and I was writing my name on the wall,” Shanahan recalled of his dad, who passed away in May of 1990 from Alzheimer’s disease. He said with his gentle Irish brogue: ‘A man’s ambitions must be small to write his name upon a wall.’ First thing I thought was, ‘How long have you been carrying that one around? What are the odds you get to use that in life?’ ”
The audience, which included 2013 inductees Niedermayer, Chris Chelios, Geraldine Heaney and the family of the late Fred Shero, roared.
“But on a day like today, when he really never, ever got to see me play hockey (in the NHL),” Shanahan continued, “although I feel he is watching, he definitely deserves to be here. This is the name he gave me and he deserves to see it up on this wall. So I dedicate this to my father, Donal Shanahan.”
“I was a bit of a rink rat. I had three older brothers and while they were playing, I had a little broken stick and I was running on the side the rink and finding a corner to shoot a piece of rolled-up tape,” he recalled. “Somebody asked my father if he was going to sign me up, so he did, even though I was a little bit younger than the other kids. I was not only the worst player on my team. I was the worst player in the entire league. But I still loved it and I was completely unaware of this fact.”
Shanahan addressed Chelios and Niedermayer.
“To be able to see you, Chris, come into the Hall of Fame, you were so hard to play against and I was so thrilled to have you as a teammate,” Shanahan said. “It was an amazing feeling having you back me up. Scott, you were so talented You are a humble guy and a modest guy, but nobody wins that many championships without being extremely competitive. If you look at the tape (from) the other day, he flipped the puck on his stick. Chris, Scott and I dropped puck but Geraldine caught it. And Scott immediately knocked the puck off her stick, so he’s not that nice.”
Shanahan, inducted by former Red Wings teammate Steve Yzerman, also thanked his three older brothers. Then he spoke of his wife and children.
“My kids (two daughters and a son) really didn’t see me play much,” he said. “The only real memory they have of me playing I was pretty old and pretty slow. So it’s been nice to come here and let them see some old video of dad to prove I really did play. There’s been a little too much video of me fighting. I just want to say right now those were situations where I was backed into a corner and there were no other options. Everything I tell you to do, I still want you to do.”
Shanahan won Stanley Cup titles with Detroit in 1997, 1998 and 2002, appeared in eight All-Star Games and was a member of Canada's gold-medal winning Olympic team in 2002. He was also a First-Team All-Star twice and is currently the NHL's discipline czar.
"I think about you guys a lot and I'll never forget what we were able to accomplish," Shanahan said of his time with Detroit.
As for Chelios, here's his speech...
His interview with the NHL Network...
And his "By the Numbers" video:
Chelios brought his family up on stage at the close of his 12-minute speech, but the media in attendance duly noted that Chelios did NOT bring up Shanahan's boss during his speech, offering the following, as noted by the Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby (and Hornby's article includes an embedded 14-image photo gallery) and kind of glossed over by NHL.com...
On a night where “thank you” was repeated a thousand times, Chris Chelios wrote a heavy note of apology into his speech.
Near the end of a gracious acceptance as the first of five inductees to the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night, the hard-hitting, plainspoken defenceman said his one regret was being part of two of the three NHL lockouts.
“Nobody won,” said Chelios, who would have been even closer to Gordie Howe in the longevity department had 2004-05 not been scrubbed. “Players, fans, everybody suffered. The worst thing was what happened with the relationships with my teammates and players throughout the league (who showed cracks in unity as the disputes dragged on).
“It’s politics, it’s business, I understand that, but I apologize.”
Chelios did recognize deposed union head Bob Goodenow’s administration and the old guard of the NHLPA, including pioneers Ted Lindsay and Carl Brewer, who “sacrificed a lot to make it good for us.”
Ignored in his remarks was commissioner Gary Bettman, of whom Chelios was very critical during times the game was idled.
Chelios had the most notable celebrity entourage at the ceremony, including John Cusack, Kid Rock, John McEnroe and Cuba Gooding Jr.
Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika took note of Chelios's star-studded guest list (and you may cue the, "This is part of a much longer article that's worth your time" line):
This year, it was like … well, Hollywood. Here came Scotty Bowman and Ted Lindsay and the rest of the hockey royalty Monday night, and here came John C. McGinley and D.B. Sweeney and Tony Danza and John Cusack and Cuba Gooding Jr., too. In the crowd sat Kid Rock and Cindy Crawford.
“Why are you here?” a reporter asked John McEnroe.
“My buddy,” McEnroe said. “Chris Chelios.”
Cheli. Of course. With all due respect to the other inductees – Geraldine Heaney, Scotty Niedermayer, Brendan Shanahan and the late Fred Shero – who else could have drawn a crowd of celebrities like that to a night of highlights and speeches?
Wayne Gretzky? Maybe. But consider that Gretzky and his wife, Janet Jones, were there not because Gretzky was, is and always will be The Great One. They were there because Chelios had asked them to come.
“I said, ‘OK, we’ll be there,’ ” Gretzky said. “I said, ‘I’m coming there for all the times you hit me and hacked me. I’m going to count them out on my hands when you’re on stage. I’m just going to keep counting how many times you whacked me.’ ”
If only we could have seen the party Sunday night in Toronto, the one that included Michael Jordan, the one that was going strong long after 2 a.m. “It was a pretty good crew,” Cusack said. If only we could hear the best Cheli stories. “I’m not sure if I can tell them,” Cusack said with a low laugh.
This is part of the Chelios legend, along with the unbelievable backstory, the three Stanley Cups, the three Norris Trophies, the Olympic silver medal, the toughness, the fitness and the longevity.
While he acknowledged a high-school friend, made a junior teammate stand up in the crowd and brought his kids up on stage Monday night, he had celebs in the seats. He is a blue-collar guy who is comfortable with both his teammates and the A-list. He knows Eddie Belfour and Eddie Vedder. “He’s just a one-of-a-kind person,” Cusack said.
Chris Chelios was described by Bob Gainey as an all-in competitor.
Quotable: “I don’t know if I trained harder than any other athlete, but I sure started earlier than everybody and probably did it longer than everybody. I had a love-hate relationship with trainer T.R Goodman for 20 years. Mostly hate, it wasn’t a lot of fun.”
As did the Free Press's Shawn Windsor...
“For me,” he said, “it was a different path. I was the biggest pain in the rump. My family will tell you, my wife and kids, my coaches.”
Chelios grew up in Chicago, found his way to a small school in San Diego, then to a team in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, where the coach had to be persuaded to take a chance on a U.S. player who had never played defense. Bob Parker, the man who persuaded the coach to take Chelios, was at the ceremony, just as so many others who had either helped or befriended him over the years.
He thanked every one of them.
Where Shanahan’s speech was thoughtful, deliberate and poised, Chelios winged it, tossing aside his script — he had wanted to open with a joke.
“I forgot it,” he said. He paused, then added: “This is going better than I thought.”
He could say the same of his 26-year career, a body of work that is as good as any U.S.-born player has ever submitted. Making the Hall of Fame, he said, “was an incredible feeling … (but) the most important thing to me is what my friends and family thought of me.”
"My parents will tell you, I was a pain,” Chelios said. “My family, wife and kids, my coaches, so I’m not going to stop now. I had a lot of people come up to Toronto, wanted to have everybody here to share this because it’s so special. It’s not the same as watching on TV. Like I said, it’s really incredible to see the support I’ve had throughout my life with my friends and family to make this all possible.“
That was one of the main themes in Chelios’ induction speech; family and friends, not being ‘a pain’.
“What an incredible feeling. It is a crazy story,” Chelios said. “You look at some of the other inductees, where they came from; for me, it was a different path. The words they used…incredible or surreal, mine, the word that keeps popping back in my head is comical. Mostly because, the path I took, and not so much what happened when I did make it.”
And after talking through his journey – Olympics, Norris Trophies and records galore – Chelios thanked the players before him that paved the way for today’s NHL athlete and the players’ association. But he made sure to return to family.
“Now, after talking about the ugly part of the game, I wanted to talk about something so beautiful,” Chelios said. “My mother and my father, what they have done for me my whole life, providing me with everything. Whatever it took, I watched them work so hard, so thank you Mom and Dad. They gave me everything they could afford to.”
“When I first walked into the Montreal dressing room, I saw all these kids up there, and I said man, I can’t wait to have kids and bring them to the rink and skate with them. Well, I never thought it was going to be this good, it’s been unbelievable being a parent, and thank you guys, I’m proud of every one of you.”
“In closing, the most important thing to me was what my friends and family thought of me, and how they perceived me as a person and a teammate and a player. I owe everything in my life to my family and my friends and this great game of hockey.” I always said that somehow I’d remain in hockey in some capacity. But if this is the last time that I’m ever standing front and center in this type of setting, I just want to say what a great ending. Thank you very much, everybody.”
If you haven't already read it, Chelios spoke with the Canadian Press's Stephen Whyno about the man who sent a beach bum in San Diego to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan to restart his career;
CHRIS CHELIOS: “I got the call out in California. No word of a lie, I didn’t know the day was the day the hall was voting. Jim (Gregory) was a little mad at me because I didn’t answer for an hour and a half or two hours. I didn’t know what was going on. When I got the call, it was surreal. For me, it’s crazy. The first people I told were my wife and kids. The word the kids used was ‘cool.’”
BRENDAN SHANAHAN: “I was at my home in Cape Cod. When I got the call, one of the things they told us was the show was not on for a little while, so just tell your close family. I couldn’t call my mother. I couldn’t trust her. Figured she’d call The Fan right away. My 10-year-old son, Jack, was coming home from camp. He was the first person I told. I choked up as I was getting the words out: “Daddy’s in the Hall of Fame.” He’s a pretty loud, wild, rambunctious boy. He got real quiet and gave me a big, huge hug. That was my favourite moment.
The NHLPA paid tribute to its 3 inducted members;
And, amongst ESPN's Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun's HOF notes:
Babcock's players: There were lot of connections on Hall of Fame night with Chelios and Shanahan having played together in Detroit. Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock coached both, and he also coached Scott Niedermayer in Vancouver at the 2010 Olympics and the 2004 World Championships, as well as losing to Niedermayer’s New Jersey Devils in the 2003 Stanley Cup finals when he was head coach in Anaheim.
“I’m real fortunate. I got an opportunity obviously to coach Niedermayer two times and had an opportunity to coach Cheli and Shanny in Detroit, so you’re proud of those guys,” Babcock said. "Not many guys are fortunate enough to have coached as many Hall of Famers that I’ve been lucky enough to coach, and you feel fortunate to have coached such great players.”
Burnside and LeBrun, like McKenzie, wonder whether Chris Osgood will be inducted at some point given that he's going to be eligible for induction next year, and Pro Hockey Talk's Mike Halford weighed in on next year's "class":
First-time eligible in ’14
Peter Forsberg, Dominik Hasek, Mike Modano, Mark Recchi, Doug Weight, Adam Foote
’13 eligible players
Rob Blake, Rod Brind’Amour, Bill Guerin, Paul Kariya, Markus Naslund, Keith Tkachuk
Eric Lindros, Phil Housley, Dave Andreychuk, Alex Mogilny, Jeremy Roenick, Claude Lemieux
For what it’s worth, my selections would be Hasek (the lockiest lock that ever locked), Forsberg, Modano and Recchi. I’m doing this while consciously ignoring my not-gonna-happen-but-I-want-’em-to longshot picks: Claude Lemieux (four Stanley Cups with three different teams) and Rod “The Bod” Brind’Amour, who scored 1,184 points, played 1,484 games, won a Stanley Cup in 2006 when he captained the Hurricanes captured a pair of Selkes.
I think that Osgood will get in eventually, but he'll have to wait, perhaps until Sergei Fedorov decides to formally retire.
As the Karjala Cup's ended and the KHL season will resume (most of Europe's hockey leagues pause for a week as Russia, Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic take part in the Euro Hockey Tour, and the Karjala Cup is the second leg thereof), and it was assumed that Fedorov, who is practicing with CSKA Moscow, would make his return on November 13th, but so far there's no news regarding the player-GM possibly playing in the near future.
Lest I forget, in the Twitter department:
Update #2: NHL..com's Dan Rosen took note of Gretzky's presence:
"You know what? Listen, to make the Hockey Hall of Fame is really hard, you have to be a real special person because that's what makes special players," Gretzky said. "Everybody who is coming in, good for them, well-deserved. It's a great honor. When I was a kid, I used to come and just stare at all the equipment and the names. I got a chance to bring my 15-year-old son here and spend a couple of hours here. It's a wonderful place and everybody going in today is well deserved. It's a great honor not only for the players and athletes, but for the families."
Gretzky, though, seemed to have a special appreciation for Chelios. Maybe it had something to do with all the battles he had against him throughout his career.
The respect is evident.
"He's just a good man," Gretzky said. "Chris is one of those guys, and a lot of guys in the NHL like that, you call him, need a favor and he'll be there in the next heartbeat. There were only a couple of players in my career that I played against that were tough and mean that I was a little nervous about. Both of them, Mark Messier and Chris Chelios, every time they hit me they'd tell me, 'Gretz, I'm behind you.'
"I have a great deal of respect for [Chelios]. He was a great player."
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About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.