Sunday, February 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

St. Louis appreciates hitting 1,000-game mark

LOS ANGELES — For Marty St. Louis, playing in his 1,000th NHL game Tuesday night against the Kings is an accomplishment he ranks among his most special.

That is saying a bunch considering the Lightning right wing, in his 15th season, won a Stanley Cup in 2004 with Tampa Bay, has two NHL points titles, a league MVP award and three Lady Byng Trophies.

"I feel I've accomplished a lot more than I could have ever imagined," St. Louis said. "In terms of playing 1,000 games, that never even crossed my mind. I feel I have more to give, but I think the 1,000-game mark, of all the things I've done in this league, it's one of those that I'm going to hold up there."

St. Louis, 38, is part of two exclusive clubs.

Only 286 players have played 1,000 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, and only 16 undrafted players reached the mark since the universal draft began in 1969.

"It's a remarkable accomplishment," coach Jon Cooper said. "At the level he's continued to play, 1,000 games, it's crazy. It just goes to show that with hard work, desire and work ethic and the want to be the best, that's what happens."

St. Louis, who started his career from 1998-2000 with the Flames, has played all but 69 games with the Lightning. He entered Tuesday with 932 career points on 348 goals and 584 assists.

His 912 points and 568 assists with Tampa Bay, with which he signed in July 2000, are franchise records. His 344 goals are second behind Vinny Lecavalier's 383.

"The amazing thing about Marty is he has never stopped being appreciative of everything that he's gotten," said former Lightning GM Rick Dudley, who signed St. Louis. "If you want to go to school 101 about how to be a class superstar, he's an example. He's a great hockey player but he just handles it with such dignity. He's a capsule of what you want in a hockey player."

He also had an interesting first game — Oct. 9, 1998, in Tokyo — where the Flames and Sharks opened the season to help the league build on its participation in the 1998 Nagano Olympics.

"An exciting moment," said St. Louis, who had two shots in a 3-3 tie. "I remember walking away thinking I could have done more."

Nine-hundred ninety-nine games later, not much has changed.

In and out: D Dmitry Korobov, 6 feet 3, 230 pounds, made his NHL debut against the Kings and RW Pierre-Cedric Labrie, 6-3, 234, played after eight straight games as a scratch as Cooper added heft. To make room, D Andrej Sustr and RW B.J. Crombeen were scratched.

"That is his strength, he has strength," Cooper said of Korobov, called up last week. "We're playing a team that is big, strong, forechecks. To have a heavy body down there, he can kill penalties, block shots."

Odds and ends: With a second-period assist, St. Louis tied Lightning assistant coach Steve Thomas for 92nd all-time with 933 points. … D Mark Barberio also was scratched. … D Keith Aulie (upper body) and F Tom Pyatt (broken collarbone) continue to skate with red no-contract jerseys.

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