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Chris Chelios talks about Jake making his NHL debut and why it's extra special to have his mom at the game. Filmed March 29, 2019 in Detroit.
     Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press

Chris Chelios has been condemned to be the most nervous he'd been in years.

Detroit Red Wings on Friday, Chelios sounded downright giddy.

"It's great, a great opportunity for him," Chelios told the Free Press.

"I hope it's not a once-in-a-lifetime thing, but it's great. Good to be here and good to see my kid playing.

Devils left wing Miles Wood shoves Red Wings defenseman Jake Chelios in the first period on Friday, March 29, 2019, at Little Caesar's Arena. (Photo: Rick Osentoski USA TODAY Sports)

Chris said he advised Jake to "get hit, hit somebody, get into it early and relax and play. Just have fun. There's no way he's not nervous. "

Asked what he was doing to his nerves, Chelios smiled. "I have not had a drink yet. Usually that's what it takes to relax. I'm excited. "

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The Wings signed Jake Chelios, 28, as a free agent last summer. Chris, 57, is a Hall of Famer who played for the Wings from 1999-2009. He served as an assistant coach / ambassador with the team for several years before departing for his hometown Chicago so he could be near his mom. Sue, 86, who had health issues.

(Photo: Chris Chelios)

Much to Chelios' delight, Sue felt well enough to accompany him to the game at Little Caesar's Arena and watch from owner Marian Ilitch's box.

"It could not have been better timing," Chelios said. "She was a little sick and then all of a sudden she recovered two days ago. I was at the house and we got the news and jumped in the pickup truck. She's with Mrs. I, they can not be happier to see each other. It's 20 years they've known each other. "

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While chelios had interest in coaching, right now it's all about being hockey. He still has his house in suburban Detroit, still watches the Wings (and is especially impressed with Dylan Larkin, Andrew Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha), but spends most of his time in Chicago.

"I'm looking for a way to work so I can spend time with my family," Chelios said. "If I was coaching, Jake play. So that's what I really base everything on. I'm happy right where I'm at. "

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames . Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter.