Patrick Marleau made history on Saturday night, and he’ll make more on Monday.
The former Toronto Maple Leafs’ and current San Jose Sharks’ forward accomplished a huge milestone in his career when he tied Gordie Howe’s all-time record for NHL games played on Saturday. And, he will surpass Howe’s record when he steps on the ice Monday.
Marleau accomplishment is simply incredible. The Great Gordie Howe’s record has stood for more than 40 seasons (since 1980) with few coming close until Marleau.
Why Has Marleau Been Able to Achieve Such Longevity?
Three things have allowed Marleau to have the longevity to get this far. First, he’s skilled enough that teams simply want him to continue playing. Second, he’s been competitive for a long time and has stayed at an elite (or better-than-competent) level long past when most other players lose their abilities or desires. Finally, he’s been and has stayed healthy throughout his career.
Right now, he’s 41-years-old and certainly not the offensive force he once was. Still, the Shark’s depth chart lists him as the team’s second-line right-winger. And, in that position, he continues to average more than 13 minutes (13:45 to be exact) each game.
As Marleau says when he was asked about his longevity, “Just first and foremost, loving the game and I just love being out there and playing. Obviously, every kid’s dream is to hoist that Stanley Cup, so I’ve been chasing it all this time and that goal hasn’t changed for me, since you know what the Stanley Cup’s about.”
Sadly, winning the Stanley Cup is one major accomplishment Marleau has not been able to achieve during his career. And, it won’t happen this season with the Sharks.
Will he play another season? That’s doubtful; however, if he does, it will be the quest for the Cup that keeps him going. Although he’s determined, his body might be telling to call it a day.
Marleau Admits that He’s Gotten Lucky
Marleau admits that he’s been lucky. “That has a lot to do with it, but also putting in the work, putting in the hours training — offseason, during the season — and having a great support staff, great trainers to help you out, medical staff.”
About the training staff he noted: “There’s always bumps and bruises along the way, so the sooner you can get those under control and try and get it back up to 100% during the season, it can only help you throughout, throughout your career.”
Marleau Speaks About How Much He Appreciates the Training Staff
In the video below, Marleau considers how he’s been able to last long enough to play as many games as he has. He’s grateful to those people who have helped him maintain his ability to play.
Ever gracious, the long-time Sharks’ forward extends gratitude to all the individuals who played a role in his journey to tying hockey legend Howe’s record of 1,767 games played.
Of Marleau’s Friends, the Trainers Rank Right Up There
As Marleau notes, he’s had a lot of “great teammates and great friends over the years within within the game and outside of the game.”
He noted a list of those people who have helped. They include, for him, doctors, massage therapists, all the other specialists all around who have supported him.
Marleau was clear that without such support “you don’t get that play this many games or play this long without everybody who helped” him along the way. As he admitted, “I’ve definitely had my fair share of help from all those people.”
Here at NHLTradeTalk.com, we salute Marleau’s record and wish him well going forward.
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