Sharks' Patrick Marleau Ties Gordie Howe's Record for Most Career NHL Games

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 18, 2021

San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau (12) in action against the Anaheim Ducks during the second period of an NHL hockey game on Wednesday April 14, 2021, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/ Tony Avelar)
Tony Avelar/Associated Press

San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau tied hockey legend Gordie Howe's NHL-record mark of 1,767 regular-season games played when he took the ice against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday evening.

The two-time Olympic gold medal winner spoke about the impending honor two days beforehand, per ESPN News Services: "Just first and foremost is 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."

Hockey Hall of Famer Mark Messier owns the record for most NHL games played including playoffs with 1,992. Marleau is second on that list with 1,962.

The Sharks have 12 more regular-season games left, so Marleau could inch a little closer to Messier. However, it's unlikely that Marleau could eclipse the total-game mark this year with the sixth-place Sharks currently on the outside looking into the playoff picture.

Marleau would also have to play in all remaining regular-season games plus 18 playoff contests to get it done.

However, the 41-year-old hasn't hinted at ending his illustrious career, which has seen him score 566 career goals and post 630 assists since entering the league in 1997. He could conceivably come back for at least one more season, break Messier's record and perhaps surpass 2,000 total games played too.

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"I still love playing, I still love the competition," Marleau said upon signing a one-year contract with the Sharks in October, per NHL.com.

"[I'm] still going after my dream of winning the Stanley Cup and, yeah, [I'm] still able to get out there and play and have fun. I think that's the thing that keeps me going."

He's also one of the more durable players in NHL history, as ESPN News Services explained.

"But it is his supreme skating skill and dependability that has allowed him to play 896 consecutive games since last missing a contest when he was 29 that will be his legacy. He has played through the flu, various other bumps and bruises and even chartered a plane to join his teammates in Nashville for a game in 2009 after the birth of one of his sons."

Marleau, who was the second overall pick in the 1997 NHL draft, has now played in San Jose for 21 seasons.