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Leafs Need Leadership: They Should Reach Out to Chris Chelios

DETROIT - MAY 30:  Chris Chelios #24 of the Detroit Red Wings warms up prior to Game 1 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Joe Louis Arena on May 30, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Mark GregoryContributor IIIOctober 15, 2009

The Leafs will sink or swim with Francois Beauchemin and Michael Komisarek as they both have signed long term contracts with the Leafs, so they will be around a long while. But neither have stepped up to claim captaincy on the Leafs, which has left a huge void in the Leafs roster.

The Leafs defense and power play have been a disaster this year as well their players have been consistently missing defensive assignments, which has lead to extra opportunities against the Leafs goal.

Luke Schenn as well is not performing up to his level of performance set last year. And XLB has been caught when he has gone head hunting for the big hit.

The Leafs really need to import someone who can bring a winning atmosphere to this franchise who are in the midst of a five game winless streak. They need someone who is a leader and can command the respect of every player in the room. This player is Chris Chelios, who would be a great player /defensive coach for the Leafs.

Chelios, who came into the NHL with Montreal in 1983-84, was the oldest active player in the league last season and only one player, Gordie Howe, was older than Chelio as he appeared in a game at 52.

In the 2008–09 season, he appeared in the playoffs for an NHL record 24th time, having missed the playoffs only once (1997–98) in his entire career. On Apr. 12, 2008, Chelios played in his 248th playoff game, breaking the NHL record set by Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy.

In 2002, his 40 plus/minus led the league. On Sept. 9, 2008, he signed with the Red Wings for his 25th NHL season. This was his 11th season with the Red Wings. It matched Mark Messier as second only to Gordie Howe for the most NHL seasons played in a career.

Chris Chelios is the player the Leafs should reach out for to help stabilize the Leafs poor positional defensive play. He comes from the Red Wings that has a strong winning tradition. He is a low risk, low cost kind of solution that could really help turn the Leafs around. Leafs management really needs to be proactive and find a way of establishing a winning chemistry on this team.

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