Former Detroit Red Wings star defenseman Chris Chelios claims to have pounded beers while being benched during the 2009 Winter Classic hockey game.

Former Detroit Red Wings star defenseman Chris Chelios claims to have pounded beers while being benched during the 2009 Winter Classic hockey game.

Former Red Wings Star Chris Chelios Pounded Beers During Game

This article originally appeared here.

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Doesn’t every player knock back a few cold ones when they lace up the skates? Perhaps not. But what about when a player gets benched in front of his hometown friends and family during an outdoor NHL game?

Maybe. And if true, it’s another unabashed moment from former Detroit Red Wings star defenseman, Chris Chelios. A player known for speaking his mind, claims this happened during the 2009 Winter Classic, after being benched by ever-abrasive coach Mike Babcock at Wrigley Field in Chelios’ hometown of Chicago.

“He tried to healthy scratch me in the outdoor game in Wrigley Field against Chicago because he knew it was my hometown,” Chelios, who played 26 seasons in the NHL, including 10 in Detroit, said Monday on Barstool Sports’ Spittin’ Chiclets podcast.

“Just things that were so unnecessary just to show that he’s the boss.”

Chelios, who last played in 2009-10, played five shifts and received just 1:57 of ice time before being benched, according to the box score of the game.

And then he said he started pounding beers.

“Again, and you know it’s funny,” Chelios continued. “I’m sitting there. Second period and my two sons were about 40 feet, you know, sitting on the boards and they’re looking at me going, ‘What’s going on?’

“And I look at them. I tip my glass like you know my cup, to get me a beer. So my two boys were handing me beers the whole game. And then (Brad) McCrimmon tried to get me to go out there with a minute left to kill a penalty. I said, ‘Not a chance.’”

According to an article on The Free Press, the claim by Chelios seems unlikely. First, there isn’t any video of the incident, and additionally, the ice at the 2009 Winter Classic was positioned in the middle of Wrigley Field, far from spectators. Chelios has two sons. His oldest son, Dean, was born in 1989. His youngest, Jake, was born in 1991. Which means neither of them would have been 21 years old while handing their father beers in 2009.

Regardless, the crux of the story centers on Babcock, who coached the Red Wings from 2005 to 2015, and his purported manipulative coaching tactics.

On Monday, former Red Wings forward Johan Franzen, in an interview with the Swedish newspaper Expressen, called Babcock “the worst” person he had ever met and a “bully” after Chelios summarized a heated exchange between Babcock and Franzen during the 2012 playoffs in Nashville.

“He blatantly verbally assaulted him during the game on the bench,” Chelios said on Spittin’ Chiclets. “It got to the point where poor Johan, no one really knowing he was suffering with the concussion thing and the depression thing, he just broke down and had a nervous breakdown, not only on the bench but after the game in one of the rooms in Nashville.”

Franzen, who was forced to retire in 2015 after repeated head injuries caused him to suffer from post-concussion syndrome, said “From 2011 on, I was terrified of being at the rink.”

Babcock’s tactics didn’t stop in Detroit, where he won a Stanley Cup.

In Toronto, he admitted he asked Mitch Marner, at the time a rookie, to rank the players on the team from hardest-working to biggest slacker. Marner obliged, according to the Toronto Sun, before Babcock took the list and showed it to the players ranked at the bottom.

Babcock was the Maple Leafs coach from 2015 to November 20th, when he was fired after a 9-10-4 start to the season.

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