Islanders’ Zdeno Chara breaks NHL record for games by defender

SAN JOSE, Calif. –

Zdeno Chara broke the NHL record for the game by a defensive player on Thursday night.

The seven-time All-Star was on the ice for the New York Islanders in the opening game against San Jose in his 1,652th regular game of the season. He broke the mark of the Chris Chelios Hall of Fame.

“I want to start by thanking Chris Chelios,” Chara said after the 4-3 loss to New York. “He sets such a high standard for many of us. It’s been a huge source of inspiration and motivation. I want to thank him for that. ΓǪ I’m so lucky to still be able to play this game. .”

Chara received a standing ovation from the SAP Center audience and waved confirmation as his trophy was announced during the stoppage time. The Sharks also played a video recording of congratulations from former San Jose forward Patrick Marleau, who holds the NHL record for games by any player.

The Slovak star, the tallest player in NHL history at 6 foot-9, is in the twilight of a decorated career that began in 1997 at the age of 20. -five deals with the Islanders before this season to reunite with the team he started his career with.

Chara even challenged Jeffrey Viel of the Sharks to a second match when they exchanged punches and fell to the ice.

“He was in a relationship with someone who was acting a little bit,” said Islanders coach Barry Trotz. “He fought, and our bench was energized from that.”

Chara won the Norris Trophy as the tournament’s best defensive player in 2008-09 while playing for Boston. Two seasons later, he was captain of the Bruins team that won the Stanley Cup. He has also spent time in Ottawa and the Washington Capitals during his 24-year career.

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