Vanek latest to get to 1,000-game milestone
Thomas Vanek has seen a lot of places and played a lot of games. Friday, when he takes his first shift for the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena against the Nashville Predators, he will be playing in his 1,000th NHL game.
“It’s awesome,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill told Detroitredwings.com. “Listen, you play 1,000 games in the National Hockey League, there’s a reason why it’s a big measuring stick. It’s a hard thing to get to.
“You have to have longevity in your career. There’s a lot of guys in this league that are good for periods of time, but to be that good to be able to play 1,000 is awesome.”
Twice, Vanek, 34, has scored 40 goals in a season. He’s topped 30 on two occasions as well and been a member of the 20-goal club in seven other campaigns.
“Vanny’s one of the smartest hockey players in the NHL, has been for a long time.,” Blashill said.
That number of games played puts Vanek in rarified company in a lot of ways. He’s the 332nd NHL player to skate in at least 1,000 games, the 10th to achieve the milestone this season and the second Red Wing. Defenseman Trevor Daley played his 1,000th NHL game Dec. 23 against the Maple Leafs in Toronto.
“Our guys’ pocketbooks are going to get hit with all these thousand games,” Blashill joked. His Detroit teammates purchased Daley a brand new jet ski to celebrate reaching the achievement.
Daley got to play his milestone game in his hometown, but that was never going to happen for Vanek, who was born in Vienna, Austria.
“Austria hasn’t produced lots of NHL players,” Blashill said. “I think there was a stretch where there was a little bit more. But I’m more impressed with the level of player he is and the level of person he is. That combination is real impressive.
“I’ve talked lots about that he’s self-accountable. He’s a guy who has strong beliefs in things but is very, very self-accountable and that’s a great combination to have.”
Detroit is one of eight NHL teams that Vanek has suited up for en route to 1,000 games, but as well-traveled as he is, he’s got a lot of work left to do to reach the top of this list. Among the NHL’s 1,000-fame club, former Red Wings forward Mike Sillinger, who played in 1,049 NHL games, skated for 12 different teams.
Mathieu Schneider, another ex-Wing, played for 10 teams. Six players including Paul Coffey, who won a Norris Trophy on the Detroit defense in 1994-95, played for nine teams. Vanek will be the 11th to have been a member of eight teams.
Most Teams Played For By Players With 1,000 NHL Games
Player Teams Games
Mike Sillinger* 12 1049
Mathieu Schneider* 10 1289
Jaromir Jagr 9 1733
Paul Coffey* 9 1409
Olli Jokinen 9 1231
Sean O’Donnell 9 1224
Geoff Sanderson 9 1104
Grant Ledyard 9 1028
Phil Housley 8 1495
Matt Cullen 8 1445
Ray Whitney* 8 1330
Bill Guerin 8 1263
Radek Dvorak 8 1260
Marc Bergevin* 8 1191
Eric Weinrich 8 1157
Lyle Odelein 8 1056
Bryan Smolinski 8 1056
Rob Ramage 8 1044
Thomas Vanek* 8 1000
*Played for Red Wings
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