Tag: career milestone

Joe Thornton, Ilya Bryzgalov

Jumbo Joe Thornton scores 1000th NHL point in Phoenix

Amidst teams all over the NHL battling for playoff spots on Friday night, the San Jose Sharks watched their captain earn an individual accolade that has been thirteen and a half years in the making. Joe Thornton became the 78th player in NHL history to reach the elusive 1000 point mark in a career—and only the second to do so in a San Jose Sharks jersey (Vincent Damphousse). Ironically, the man known as one of the best playmakers of his generation netted his 306 career goal for the milestone point.  Surely a perfectly set up saucer pass would have been far too predictable.

After the game, it was obvious Thornton would have preferred the victory over an individual accolade. After prodding, Joe Thornton had this to say after the game about scoring his 1000th point:

“You have to be blessed with a good supporting cast and luckily I’ve been blessed with a lot of good friends and family and good linemates and good players to play along. There are so many different variables that go into getting that many points.”


The former #1 overall pick from 1997 is in the middle of a few impressive milestones. Earlier this year, he passed teammate Patrick Marleau for the San Jose franchise record for most assists. On February 22, Jumbo Joe scored his 300th career goal. Unless he has 6 assists against the Coyotes in the season finale, Thornton will celebrate his 700th career assist early next season as well.

In 79 games this season, Thornton has posted 69 points (21 goals, 48 assists). Just as a measure of perspective, his point total is good for 24th in the NHL in scoring. Even more impressive is that these numbers represent an off-year for the #1 pivot. He managed to score his 1000th point in his 994 game—for math majors out there, that’s better than a point per game for the 14 year veteran. In fact, he currently ranks ninth in points and sixth in assists among active players.

For fans that missed it, here’s what the history making goal looked like:

With the numbers that Thornton has been able to put up in his career, it’ll be interesting to see how pundits look at his career when it’s all said and done. If he can stay healthy and continue to produce at this pace for another few years (he’s still only 31 years old), he’s going to be getting up into the elite players of all time. In just three more years at a similar pace, his statistics will be mentioned with Jean Beliveau, Bobby Hull, and Bobby Clarke. Of course, it’ll be a lot easier for hockey fans and historians to put him in the same conversation as those greats if he can help the Sharks win a Stanley Cup in the next few years as well.

Regardless of team success, it’s time to start talking seriously about the statistics Thornton has compiled over his career. A couple more years of this and we won’t be talking about a Hall of Famer; we’ll be talking about a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Chris Osgood earns the Save of the Week (December 27-January 2)

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It seems like a good general rule: you hit the 400-win mark and people tend to give you awards. That’s what happened last week for Chris Osgood, who crossed that threshold and then received a goal of the night award and ultimately the goal of the week for December 27 through January 2nd.

The best part, though, is that the saves were very impressive.

Many people discount some of Osgood’s accomplishments based on the fact that he played behind some outstanding teams in his years with the Detroit Red Wings. It’s similar logic to those who try to downplay the achievements of Martin Brodeur. There’s certainly some validity to the fact that the two teams were elite, especially if you judge goalies based on individual stats (such as save percentage) as much as – if not more than – more team oriented numbers like wins. (Admittedly, I tend to weigh save percentage more heavily.)

On the flip side, both Osgood and Brodeur flourished in great environments and it seems kind of silly to judge them too harshly for doing so. And when you watch sequences like the one Osgood produced below, it’s clear that he wasn’t just in the right place at the right time.

Take a look at the poll results before we get to the video.

(click to enlarge)

As you can see, Osgood dominated the voting. Check out video of saves from his 400th win below.

Saves of the Night – Chris Osgood (December 27)


Considering the fact that Chris Osgood earned his 400th career win last night, the chances of him earning the save of the night award for sentimental reasons. There was the worry that someone else would come off with a save so amazing that they’d barge their way into the award.

Well, Osgood bailed us out by making a handful of great stops against the Colorado Avalanche (not to mention 46 overall and a startling 23 in the second period). It’s kind of nice when things work out that way, isn’t it?

So the Detroit Red Wings goalie probably would have earned the award even without that milestone-breaking context, although yet another circus save from Tim Thomas might have beaten him out. (Watch that one here.)

Still, Thomas is as accustomed to winning save of the night awards as George Clooney is familiar with seeing pretty women naked, so Osgood takes the cake. In fact, as a bonus, we’ll throw in Niklas Kronwall’s (400th) game winning goal too.

First, Osgood’s saves:

OK, now here’s Kronwall’s goal and Osgood’s victory celebration. We’ll spare you his incredibly bland interview, though.

Chris Osgood becomes 10th goalie of all time to earn 400 wins


Of course, it had to come against the Detroit Red Wings’ hated rival, the Colorado Avalanche.

Sure, it would have been better if Chris Osgood could have earned a milestone that only nine other goalies managed to cross in Detroit, the place where he earned 316 of his 400 career wins. But perhaps it’s more fitting that he did it with a scrappy effort on the road, as he was the genuine top star of the game instead of being simply the sentimental choice. His best work came in the second period, where he stopped all 23 Colorado Avalanche shots, but he made 46 saves overall.

It was one of those games that the most virulent anti-Osgood people will try to ignore, as a goalie who many feel benefited greatly by playing behind the fantastic team in front of him instead saved the day over and over again.

Detroit 4, Colorado 3 (OT)

That 400th victory certainly didn’t come easily, as he lost in overtime to the Dallas Stars while he was on the cusp of breaking the milestone and needed an overtime game winning goal by Niklas Kronwall to get it tonight.

Detroit’s explosive power play was the other story of this game, as their man advantage produced every Red Wings goal (four goals in six opportunities). Kronwall, Nicklas Lidstrom, Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler provided Detroit’s goals while Matt Duchene scored twice and T.J. Galiardi found the net for the Avalanche.

Who knows if Osgood is a true Hall of Fame goalie, but it’s hard to argue against the fact that he squeezed everything he could out of his talent. He managed 12 seasons with 20 wins or more and his overall record (400-216-66-29 thanks to the statistical oddness of transitioning from ties to shootouts, with 50 shutouts) indicates that he has a case for the Hall. He also experienced the team success many HOF voters value, as he was the main guy for two Cup wins and also was on the roster for another championship with the Red Wings.

With Grant Fuhr (403) and Glenn Hall (407) in his sights, Osgood is already in select company. Whether that’s enough to get him enshrined with the game’s all-time greats is to be determined, but he’s certainly enjoyed a special career. Tonight was a glorious example of all he brings (and brought) to the goaltending position. Congratulations, Ozzie.

(Screen shot of Red Wings players congratulating Osgood via FSN Detroit and NHL Game Center.)

Video: Steve Stamkos becomes sixth youngest player in NHL history to hit 100 goal mark


For most guys on the verge of turning 21-years-old, it’s a solid achievement to decide on a major in college or earn an assistant manager job somewhere.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, Steve Stamkos isn’t like most almost-21-year-old men. The sublime sniper hit the 100-goal mark before he could legally purchase a beer tonight, as the Tampa Bay Lightning took second place in the Southeast Division by defeating the Carolina Hurricanes with a 5-1 score.

Stamkos became the sixth youngest player to reach the 100 goal milestone tonight, according to NHL.com. The five other players to score that many goals before they turned 21 were: Wayne Gretzky, Jimmy Carson, Brian Bellows, Dale Hawerchuk and Ilya Kovalchuk.

(Interesting that Carson – aka the biggest chip in the notorious Gretzky trade – hit the 100-goal mark at such a young age. It’s hard not to feel bad for the guy.)

It may not be a typical one-timer/laser beam goal, but feel free to check out the video of Stamkos crossing the century mark below.