DETROIT - Chris Chelios said he didn't shake hands with the Anaheim Ducks players following the Detroit Red Wings' loss Tuesday in the Western Conference final because he was so overcome with emotion he thought he was going to blackout and throw up.
The veteran defenceman initially went straight to the dressing room, but composed himself enough to come out and shake the hands of Ducks coaches before once again being overwhelmed by the feelings of illness.
"I'm the biggest believer in tradition, in having honour and showing class," Chelios said. "I'm not going to lie and say it's an apology, it's an explanation.
"In all sincerity, I couldn't keep it together the last 20 seconds of the game realizing we were going to get knocked out.
"It was almost like a blackout-type thing going to the room, coming out shaking hands with the coaches and whether you were going to get sick and throw up or start balling your eyes out."
Chelios left the rink by cab, not even waiting to meet some family members or acknowledging Steve Yzerman outside the Honda Center.
The 45-year-old Chelios said the trauma of the loss as well as with trying to deal with the emotional fallout from a double murder at one of his Detroit-area restaurants earlier this season flooded his mind in the game's dying seconds.
"The first thing I thought about a day later is trying to explain things to my sons, because I try to teach them what you're supposed to do," Chelios said.
"I mean this with all sincerity: It was no disrespect to the Ducks, no animosity towards them I couldn't control it.
"I've always tried to do the right thing for my family and the Detroit Red Wings organization. I saw (Anaheim star Teemu) Selanne's quotes and I think he understands I've been through a lot off the ice as well as on the ice.
"The last 20 seconds of that game, there was a lot of things going through my head.
"If I could go out there today and shake all their hands, I would."