In a 4-2 home win over the Vancouver Canucks on Dec. 14, Marc-Edouard Vlasic became the second player and first defenseman in Sharks franchise history to reach 1,000 career games with San Jose. Before a 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at SAP Center on Saturday night, Vlasic had his moment in the spotlight for that achievement.
In keeping with NHL tradition, Vlasic was presented with a silver stick during a pregame ceremony to commemorate his 1,000th career NHL game. Prior to puck drop, he was joined on the ice by his wife, Martine, and the eldest of his three rescue dogs, Kelly, for some well-deserved recognition. After a montage of some of his greatest moments with the Sharks since arriving on the scene as a 19-year-old was shown on the jumbotron, the procession of gifts commenced.
First up was San Jose's strength and conditioning staff, who presented Vlasic with a 1.5-liter bottle of champagne.
Next up was an assortment of the Sharks' on-ice leadership: Joe Thornton, Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, as well as Logan Couture (using a crutch and walking boot) and Tomas Hertl (wearing a knee brace). As they limped out to join Vlasic on the ice for a group photo, the P.A. announcer informed the crowd that Vlasic's teammates had gifted him a hydrofoil.
Sorry. A what?
According to the announcer, the gift is "a surfboard with a high-energy lithium-ion battery-powered board that extends below the board into the water."
Vlasic was more succinct when describing it after the loss.
"You can power it by itself," he said. "You don’t need a boat or a wave."
Alrighty then. If you're thinking that's a bit random of a gift, consider the fact that when fellow defenseman Brent Burns reached his 1,000th game last year, he was gifted a pair of pregnant antelopes. So ... yeah.
Vlasic will definitely get more use out of his new hydrofoil at his lakehouse in Quebec than any sort of animal. Besides, he already has the dogs. He couldn't bring them all to the ceremony, but Kelly, a golden retriever, was the choice since she's "the oldest and the one that’s least scared of all the noise."
After the group photo with his teammates, Vlasic was joined on the ice by Sharks general manager Doug Wilson, who drafted Vlasic in the second round (No. 35 overall) back in 2005. After relaying stories from Vlasic's junior coach, Patrick Roy, and one of Vlasic's long-time peers, Sidney Crosby, Wilson laid out the credentials that will cement Vlasic's place in franchise lore.
In addition to ranking first in franchise history among defensemen in games played (1,018) and plus-minus (plus-122) and second in both points (321) and assists (249), Vlasic's tenure with the Sharks has put him in some extremely exclusive company. Outside of Vlasic, the only defensemen in NHL history to have participated in more victories over 1,000 games with the same franchise are Larry Robinson, Serge Savard and Nick Lidstrom.
For those of you that aren't NHL history buffs, those three players have combined for nine Norris trophies and 17 Stanley Cup championships, and all now reside in the Hall of Fame.
But you know what they (probably) don't have?
A hydrofoil. Heh.
Vlasic is still working on the other stuff.