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The immediate impact of the Atlanta Thrashers signing defenseman Chris Chelios(notes), 48, to an NHL contract: snarky hockey fans bum-rushing Wikipedia to find the age-appropriate jokes about Cheli in the ATL.

We went with "he can tell the young players about the Great Atlanta Fire of 1917," but must bow to Puck Buddy Aaron S. and his "Chelios can tell kids about Sherman leveling Atlanta in 1864."

It's an interesting signing as the trade deadline arrives, as Chelios was inked to an NHL deal and then immediately dropped through waivers. From the AJC:

Chelios must clear waivers, which the Thrashers will know by noon Wednesday. If he is not claimed by another team, he will remain in Chicago. However, he will be available to the Thrashers.

According to GM Don Waddell, Chelios gives the team veteran depth in case of injury. "You never know," Waddell said when asked the likelihood that Chelios is called up. "We have a busy schedule. When you go into a run like this, you like to have 10 defenseman in case you get a couple of injuries."

Injuries ... or perhaps a trade. (It reads better with a Dr. Evil pinkie near your mouth.) Bird Watchers Anonymous notes that defensemen Christoph Schubert(notes), himself a waiver grab from the Ottawa Senators earlier this season, and Pavel Kubina(notes) are unrestricted free agents this summer and, hence, trade bait. (Although Kubina has a no-trade clause.) So perhaps Chelios is the insurance policy if the Thrashers sell off one of their defensemen.

Wait, did we say "sell off?" Sorry. Everyone knows the Thrashers are buyers, not sellers. Probably because they have so little else to sell.

Here's hoping Chelios is with the AHL Chicago Wolves for only a bit and makes it back to the NHL with the Thrash ... so he can tell Zack Bogosian what life was like for a 28-year-old in the year he was born.

In other defensemen-on-the-move news, Bob McKenzie of TSN reports that the Senators have traded the Sharks' second-round pick to the New York Islanders for Andy Sutton(notes). Deadline madness is party now!

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