When Patrick Marleau made his NHL debut on Oct. 1, 1997, Carter Hart, Joel Farabee, Nolan Patrick, Wade Allison, Carsen Twarynski, Connor Bunnaman and Morgan Frost were not yet born.
Tanner Laczynski was 4 months old. Travis Konecny was 6 months old. Ivan Provorov and Philippe Myers were 8 months old. Oskar Lindblom, Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Travis Sanheim were 1 year old.
Astoundingly, Marleau is still playing and at an everyday clip. In the Sharks-Golden Knights matchup Monday night, the 41-year-old set a new NHL record for most games ever played with his 1,768th, passing Gordie Howe's mark of 1,767. Marleau has played in 899 consecutive games, a streak dating back to 2009. He has played in every NHL season since his debut, missing only 31 of a possible 1,799 games over his 23-year career.
The 14 Flyers above have played in a combined 1,780 games — 12 more than Marleau.
Myers' 12th and 17th career games came against Marleau when "Mr. Shark" was on the Maple Leafs in 2018-19. The 24-year-old Myers also faced Marleau last season when the Flyers visited San Jose.
"It's an incredible accomplishment," Myers said Tuesday about Marleau's record. "He started playing the year I was born, which is pretty incredible that he's still playing right now. I'm really happy for him and happy I got the opportunity to play against him."
Sean Couturier was 4 years old when Marleau made his NHL debut. The 2019-20 Frank J. Selke Trophy winner entered the NHL at 19 years old and has 681 career games on his résumé.
"It's quite impressive," Couturier said of Marleau's mark. "Never thought that record would have been beaten or close to be even beaten. It's an honor to have played against him and played against the guy who has played the most games in the league. I don't really know him personally, I don't really know him as a guy, but I think he's a well-respected player around the league and it's quite an honor what he has accomplished."
Patrick's uncle James Patrick, now 57 years old and a head coach in the WHL, played against Marleau. The 22-year-old Patrick scored his third career goal in a game against Marleau, James van Riemsdyk and the Maple Leafs on Jan. 18, 2018.
"It's unbelievable. To play that many games, he's a guy that's an extreme pro and knows how to take care of his body," Patrick said. "It's pretty cool to see that."
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