In the NHL, the number 1,000 often connotes a milestone, whether it is points or games played or something else. The San Jose Sharks are hitting milestones with the number 1,000 quite frequently, including three time in their last three games.
Joe Thornton’s 1,000 Milestone
On Tuesday night, Joe Thornton, affectionately known as Jumbo to fans and teammates, played his 1,000th game as a member of the Sharks. Thornton scored in the game, his 10th goal of the season. It marked the 18th time Thornton posted double-digit goals in a season.
In post-game remarks, Evander Kane (tongue fully in-cheek) was asked about Thornton’s latest milestone, saying “Jumbo’s breaking a record every shift so we’re getting sick and tired of it as a group.” For good measure, Thornton’s goal was the game winner in the Sharks’ 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Brent Burns’ 1,000 Milestone
In the game before Thornton reached his milestone, the Sharks played against the Ottawa Senators. In this game, Brent Burns played his 1,000th NHL game. During the pre-game ceremony, he received the traditional silver stick and gifts which fit Burns’ unique personality: a pair of antelope for his Texas ranch (they were not ‘on-hand’ for the game) and a fossilized megalodon tooth.
Before the game, Burns’ son joined the team, skating through the Shark head and onto the ice for warm-ups. During the game, a 4-1 Sharks win, Burns earned first star honors while collecting the game-winning goal.
Sharks’ 1,000 Milestone
The game before the Senators game, the Sharks faced the Vegas Golden Knights. In winning the game, the Sharks posted the 1,000th win in franchise history. Some noted the Sharks reached the 1,000 win mark needing the third-fewest games in NHL history. The ‘fewest games’ statistic it is a tricky one.
Historically, games had three outcomes: win, loss or tie. These days, there are only two outcomes, win or loss. No doubt the Sharks benefited from this quirk. Still, it is milestone in franchise history. It also marked the first regulation win for San Jose in Las Vegas – important as these teams seem likely to meet again in the playoffs.
More Sharks 1,000’s
The Sharks have a recent history of 1,000-based milestones. Patrick Marleau delivered career point 1,000 in Nov. 2015. In Jan. 2017, Doug Wilson reached 1,000 games as the Sharks general manager, becoming only the fourth person be the general manager for and play in 1,000 NHL games. Thornton reached the 1,000 assist mark for his career in March 2017.
There are more 1,000-based milestones in the team’s future. The next one will most likely go, once again, to Thornton. His goal against the Pens was his 995th point in teal, putting him just five points from this next milestone. Next season, both Joe Pavelski (64 games to go) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (65 games) can reach the 1,000-game mark, with a good possibly those happen this calendar year.
With the frequency of Sharks reaching major milestones, it is understandable if the fans get accustomed to expecting major milestones. They shouldn’t. These milestones take well over a decade to achieve and, in some cases, two decades. The recognition is well-deserved. Hopefully Sharks fans are finding plenty of joy for these accomplishments, this is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ period with so many of these accomplishments coming over such a short period of time.
The Sharks aren’t just hitting milestones, they are among the hottest teams in the league. In a 10-day period, they beat three top teams on hot streaks themselves: Vegas, Pittsburgh and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Beginning with their Dec. 2 win in Montreal, San Jose is 16-3-2.
ZEKE is a native of the DC area where he witnessed the birth of the Capitals franchise. After graduating from Cornell University, which had seen hockey glory before he arrived, he moved west to San Jose. There he witnessed the birth of the Sharks franchise. His wait to witness a Championship from any of these teams finally ended in 2018.