San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau passed Gordie Howe for the most NHL games played all-time on Monday night. After tying Howe's all-time mark over the weekend, Marleau played his 1,768th contest on Monday night in Vegas as the Sharks faced off against the Vegas Golden Knights.
"I'll try to take it all in as much as possible," Marleau said following Saturday's game against the Minnesota Wild. "The fun part is playing an actual game and all that, but my family's going to be there to help celebrate, so it'll be super special having them in the building."
Before opening puck drop, Marleau was honored with a video tribute and a message from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
"To be merely mentioned in the same sentence as Gordie Howe is an achievement most hockey players can only dream about. To break one of his records is historic, " said Bettman in his address to Marleau.
Marleau is currently playing in his 23rd NHL season and 1,595 of his games have come with the Sharks. In addition, the Canadian forward played 164 games in two seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2017-19. Marleau also appeared in eight games with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season after he was traded to the team. In October, Marleau elected to sign a one-year deal to return to the Sharks.
"I'm looking at it as an opportunity to thank everybody who's helped me along the way, because there's no way you get to play in this league or play this long without a huge support system," Marleau told Hockey Night in Canada. "Definitely my family, growing up, my parents, my brother and sister, all the sacrifices they make, and my immediate family now with my wife and kids. ...
"Coaching staffs, training staff, teammates, chiropractors, massage therapists, I mean, everybody that I've come into contact and become friends with or who helped me along, I extremely want to thank them for all their support."
The Sharks selected Marleau with the second overall pick in the 1997 NHL Draft. During his lengthy NHL career, Marleau has scored 566 goals and dished out 630 assists.
Howe broke the previous record for games played back on Nov. 26, 1961 when he passed Ted Lindsay. In doing so, he became the first player to appear in 1,000 games. In addition to his 1767 NHL games played, Howe also played in 419 games over six years in the WHA.