Chelios returning to Red Wings on Tuesday night

Updated: January 9, 2007, 9:29 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Veteran defenseman Chris Chelios will return to the Detroit Red Wings' lineup on Tuesday night after spending the last week dealing with fatal stabbings at his downtown Detroit restaurant.

Chelios joined his teammates in Denver on Monday, ahead of schedule. He has been out since two employees of Cheli's Chili Bar were fatally stabbed on Jan. 2.

"I wanted to bring him back and let him practice for a few days, but he's skated on his own and, let's face it, he's played in a few games," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told reporters Monday.

However, the Red Wings will be down another defenseman when Chelios returns. Mathieu Schneider will miss at least the next two games with a strained knee he suffered against Anaheim on Sunday. Babcock said the injury is not believed to be serious.

Chelios compared the killings to a death in the family and called the victims, Megan Soroka, 49, and Mark Barnard, 52, "the two sweetest people I ever met." He said he been on the phone with Soroka minutes before her death.

A 17-year-old ex-employee of the restaurant, Justin Blackshere of Detroit, has been charged with first-degree murder in the killings and faces life in prison if convicted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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