For Chelios, Visit by the Canadiens Was All Too Brief

Chris Chelios returned to Southern California last weekend, but the Montreal Canadiens didn't allow him much time to visit family and friends.

The Canadiens took the red-eye flight back to Montreal after their game with the Kings, so it was hardly surprising that Chelios was first out of the locker room after the game.

He reportedly had ordered 100 tickets to the game, and two busloads of fans drove up from his father's restaurant in San Diego to see him play.

Chelios thought he'd have to give up ice hockey when his family moved from Chicago to San Diego when he was 13. But he found a rink a few blocks from his home and became good friends with a security guard there.

That friendship allowed Chelios to have virtually unlimited use of the rink, and he became a good skater. Three years later, he moved to Moose Jaw, Canada, to play in a junior hockey league.

He then spent two years at the University of Wisconsin before playing in the 1984 Winter Olympics.

After the Olympics, Chelios joined the Montreal Canadiens and played in 12 games. This season, The 6-1, 190-pound defenseman is skating a regular shift for the Canadiens and has been named to the Wales Conference All-Star team.

Left wing Mark Messier of the Edmonton Oilers returns from a 10-game suspension for tonight's game against Winnipeg, but Messier may have a hard time earning his job back.

Mike Krushelynski, who was put into Messier's spot, has been playing very well. Krushelynski has scored five goals in his last two games.

"I hope Messier can make the team," Edmonton Coach Glen Sather joked. "It's a hell of a problem all right."

Former Kings Coach Bob Pulford is back behind the bench in Chicago.

Pulford, the Chicago Black Hawks general manager, fired Coach Orval Tessier Monday and assumed Tessier's job. Pulford coached the Black Hawks from 1977-79, winning two Norris Division titles.

Pulford passed over assistant coach Roger Neilson, who was the Kings' head coach last season.

"The players know that they're playing for me, and they also know if they don't start playing there's a good chance they might not be here," Pulford said.

Rookie defenseman Grant Ledyard of the New York Rangers made his first trip to Los Angeles Tuesday night when the Rangers played the Kings at the Forum and it was difficult for him. Ledyard's father suffered a fatal heart attack here while swimming in 1972.

"This is my first trip to Los Angeles, so naturally I think back to my father and what happened to him," Ledyard told Newsday. "He was 41 years old and was a salesman for a brewery equipment company.

"I went into a shell for two months. I was the youngest of six children, so I took it the hardest. I was on a Peewee hockey team in Winnipeg, but I couldn't play for a long time. A lot of friends helped out and I finally came out of it."

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