Sharks Marleau ties Howe's record for most NHL games played

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Forward Patrick Marleau's first shift of Saturday's NHL game lasted just 40 seconds but it was the most significant moment of the San Jose Sharks 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild.

Three-time all-star Marleau finished with 19 shifts as the 41-year-old Canadian equalled Hall of Famer Gordie Howe's record for the most career games played with 1,767.

Marleau will set the league record on Monday night when the Sharks face the Vegas Golden Knights.

"I just love being out there and playing," Marleau said as he approached Howe's record.

Odds are Marleau won't play his final professional hockey game at age 69 like Howe did, but he does appear to have a few more years left in him.

Howe retired from the NHL at age 52 after posting 41 points in his final season for Hartford. He returned for one game with the Detroit Vipers of the International Hockey League in 1997 after undergoing double knee replacement surgery a few years earlier before finally hanging up his skates for good.

Howe, of Canada, also played an additional 419 games in the World Hockey Association, which doesn't count on his NHL record.

Howe's record for games played in the NHL when he retired was thought to be unbreakable.

"Records are made to be broken," said Howe's son Mark. "This one here, I thought would be a really, really tough one to break."

After Saturday's game, the Wild stayed to salute Marleau, holding a handshake line with him on the ice.

Marleau has 566 goals and 1,196 points in his career. He won Olympic gold medals with Canada in 2010 and 2014.

"I want to be looked upon when I'm gone that I gave it my all," he said. "Enjoyed the game, loved the game, loved being around the team, loved winning games. Those are the biggest things."