2021-04-20 03:41:54 GMT+00:00 – On Monday, Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks surpassed Gordie Howe as the NHL’s all-time leader in career games played.
It was Marleau’s 1,768th game as he took the ice for the opening faceoff against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Howe’s NHL career included 1,767 games, from 1946–1971 and 1979–1980. During that time, he appeared in 419 World Hockey Association games. At the age of 52, “Mr. Hockey” played his last game for the Hartford Whalers of the National Hockey League in April of 1980.
Patrick Marleau Breaks Gordie Howes N.H.L. Record
Marleau, who is now 41 years old, has scored four goals and added four assists in 44 games played as of Monday. He made his National Hockey League debut in October of 1997 and stayed with the Sharks until the 2016–17 season. After spending two years with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he returned to the Sharks at the beginning of the 2016–17 campaign.
Marleau signed on with the Pittsburgh Penguins late in the 2017–18 season, playing in eight regular-season games and four play-in games before becoming a free agency and signing with San Jose Sharks in October.
Aside from his two years (2017–18 and 2018–19) with the Toronto Maple Leafs and his subsequent trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2020, Marleau was a reliable mainstay in the Sharks’ lineup throughout his career. The forward has appeared in at least 74 games in every season he has been with the team, including all 48 games in the lockout-shortened 2013 season, all 66 possible games in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 regular season, and all 45 games so far this season.
Over the course of Marleau’s tenure, the Sharks went from a scrappy upstart to a consistent contender, making the playoffs in all but one season between 2003–04 and 2016–17. In that time period, San Jose won more playoff games (74) than all but three other organisations combined. Despite making it to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, the Sharks were ultimately unsuccessful in their quest to win the sport’s most prestigious prize.
Despite the fact that the game was being played away from Las Vegas, the enthusiastic Golden Knights fan base gave Marleau a warm welcome during pregame warmups.
Because of the ongoing pandemic in San Jose, Marleau’s wife Christina and their four sons were able to make the trip.
An emotional Marleau stated during San Jose’s morning skate, “My wife, I couldn’t have done it without her over all these years.” She is my number one fan. I have no words to express my gratitude to her or the guys.
My biggest worry is that I forget to express gratitude to someone. If I forget somebody, please accept my sincere apologies; I promise to correct this oversight as soon as possible. Simply appreciative.”
“That’s a bit amazing,” said Fleury, no stranger to milestone moments after moving past Hall of Famer Ed Belfour for fourth on the NHL’s victories list last Wednesday.
He has never had a dip in performance during his entire career. He’s been one tough cookie. Not injured for very lengthy stretches. Even more consistently, he’s been a top performer every season. Incredible that you were able to play so many games despite being sick for so long. He’s a well-liked figure in the league.