Judging by the unperturbed tone of Patrick Marleau’s voice, you might not guess the San Jose Sharks forward is closing in on breaking an NHL record set by a hockey icon that has stood for more than 40 years.
Marleau recently signed a one-year deal with the Sharks to return for his 23rd NHL season and the 41-year-old is only 45 games away from passing Gordie Howe in career regular-season games played.
Marleau currently sits fifth in all-time regular-season games played with 1,723 behind a quartet of all-time greats.
“It’s pretty crazy to see the names that are up there and how great those players are so it’s pretty good company to be part of,” Marleau said Friday during an appearance on Good Show. “There’s 40-some games left so you never know what can happen, so I just try to not think about it too much and just go about my daily routine. If it happens, great.”
It’s unclear at the moment exactly when the 2020-21 season will begin and how many regular-season games each team will play, but Marleau could conceivably climb the ranks and claim the No. 1 spot at some point next year.
As for the secret to his longevity, Marleau keeps it relatively simple and always stays open to new methods.
“I’ve tried so many different things over the years,” he said. “Everybody knows about the ice baths so I do a lot of those and the sport is evolving. Everybody has NormaTecs for recovery. Nutrition wise, the teams are all on top of it. They’re providing meals and making it easy to eat the right things, stay healthy and all the food on the road. It’s gotten a lot easier to maintain that healthy lifestyle over the years.
“There’s always a new workout or something new to try. There’s a pressure cuff workout that I do that’s supposed to help boost natural HGH levels, help you sleep, help you recover, so I’ve done that on and off for the last seven or eight years.”
Marleau is one of 11 players in NHL history to surpass 1,500 games, 500 goals and 1,100 points and he holds the Sharks franchise record for most regular- and post-season games played, goals, power-play goals, game-winning goals and points.
Marleau is currently just 12 points shy of becoming the 50th player in NHL history to join the 1,200-point club – the only active NHLers that have surpassed that milestone are Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Joe Thornton.
Howe, who also played more than 400 professional games in the World Hockey Association, was 51 with a head full of grey hair when he skated in his final NHL contest in 1980 with the Hartford Whalers.
Although Marleau isn’t the perennial 30-goal threat he once was, the second-overall pick from the 1997 NHL Draft remains a relatively productive and fast NHL forward, scoring 11 goals and 11 assists in 66 games split between the Sharks and Penguins last season.