Thursday morning, Jeremy Roenick was on a morning sports talk show (aside: wouldn't it be swell if Detroit had something like that? Oh, that's right...our "sports talk" station would rather focus on the "talk" part instead of the "sports" part. Sorry). He was talking about Chris Chelios and his limited playing time. His suggestion: Chelios isn't playing because Mike Babcock doesn't like him.
From this morning's Sun Times:
"The coach just doesn't like him for some ungodly reason," Roenick said. "I think he's got a grudge against American players, but he does not like Cheli at all. There's an underlying -- I don't know if it's a hatred because 'hate' is a strong word -- but there is some underlying issue that I don't understand."
Roenick doesn't expect Chelios to speak out about the matter.
"Cheli will never complain," Roenick said. "He is the ultimate professional. He will do whatever the team needs. But if you'd know some of the things that Babcock says to Chris Chelios, it would make your stomach churn. Just total disrespect for one of the best defensemen ever to play the game. ... I wish I could elaborate, but that's not proper. It's just disrespectful."
Okay, so let me get this straight. Chris Chelios, whom everyone and their mother knew going into this season was going to be on the trailing edge of the list of defensemen, isn't playing because Mike Babcock "has a grudge" against American players? But Roenick won't elaborate because "it's not proper"? So it's proper to call him out, but not proper to explain why?
Perhaps, and I'm just guessing here, Babcock is sticking with what works, and with the roster he thinks will give him the best chance at winning? While juggling injuries and other factors? And having a 47-year-old defenseman during playoff time who, while legendary and deserving of all accolades of a remarkable NHL career, is clearly low on the totem pole of a defensive squad, it may not be prudent to put him out there?
Put a sock in it, Jeremy.