Playing in the NHL is an honor that most hockey players will never get to experience. Few if any players would fail to recognize how lucky they are each night they step on the ice, knowing that they are playing in the best league in the world.
Careers in the NHL can last from 1 shift to 34 years. One of the benchmarks that help define a player and his career are the amount of games he gets to play in the NHL. While not everyone is Gordie Howe, the number of games that a player appears in is a statistic that shows one’s durability, consistency, and talent to play the game. Hockey is a game that evolves constantly; styles of play change; the game gets faster.
After being sent to the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League, Wade Redden must have wondered if he would ever get to play in his 1,000th NHL game. With 994 games under his belt, Redden dug in and kept playing his style of hockey in a new league. He kept his head up and worked hard hoping it would one day pay off, and now it has.
Thursday, in St. Louis, Wade Redden will skate onto the ice to play his 1,000th career game, a feat that should be recognized as a huge accomplishment and one that is made even more sweet by the story which comes along with his journey. As a castaway of the New York Rangers, Redden still collected his multi-million dollar pay, but his situation was one that would have crushed many players.
After playing only 4 games with the St. Louis Blues, Redden has shown that he still has the talent, durability, and consistency to play in the NHL. He has made it onto the score sheet and shown that his shot never left. It would have been easy to write off Redden as a guy who excelled when playing with Zdeno Chara but couldn’t carry the load on his own. This is not the story of Wade Redden though.
Wade Redden has earned this milestone, and he will get to enjoy a milestone that most players will never reach in front of the hometown fans. No matter his past, Redden will lay to rest rumors of his inability to play in the NHL again Thursday by reaching that milestone.
The second overall draft pick in 1995 will finally get to play his 1,000th game, being just the sixth player from that draft to accomplish the feat.
Congratulations, Wade Redden. Welcome back to the NHL and welcome to St. Louis.
LET’S GO BLUES!