Chris Chelios has taken to the ice for his first practice as an Atlanta Thrasher. He will be the second oldest player to appear in an NHL game, second only to Gordie Howe, when he plays tonight at age 48.
Eight Thrashers were not born when Chelios made his NHL debut. They are – Ondrej Pavelec, Zach Bogosian, Boris Valabik, Evander Kane, Bryan Little, Niclas Bergfors, Tobias Enstrom and Clarke MacArthur.
With Chelios’ arrival, the Thrashers have changed defensive pairings: Chelios will play with Johnny Oduya (giving the team a left and right shot from the point), Ron Hainsey returns to play with Pavel Kubina and Zach Bogosian and Tobias Enstrom are reunited (in an effort to get more offense).
Chelios said he’s more than willing to lead his experience to the team, but acknowledged it will be difficult this late in the season. He said it would be more a one-on-one thing.
He also said he felt he could still play after being with Detroit in 2008. AHL Chicago made the most sense to him, because of his family, to play with the plan on returning to the NHL.
Slava Kozlov is back in the lineup. He is there to help the struggling power-play unit. Eric Boulton is also back in. Evgeny Artyukhin and Marty Reasoner are out as forwards, Mark Popovic on defense.
Johan Hedberg will be back in goal.
One note from Blue Jackets skate. Rich Nash did not participate. He is listed as day-to-day on injury report.