It was an emotional night for Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins at the United Center in Chicago.
The Penguins center skated in his 1,000th NHL game and from his teammates to his family, those close to him helped make it a special evening for him.
As the team took the ice for warmups before the game, all of Malkin’s teammates copied his infamous stretching routine.
What came next, was a big surprise for Malkin, as his son, Nikita, popped into the locker room to announce the starting lineup, letting dad know that head coach Mike Sullivan had put Malkin’s line out first.
Is it getting dusty in the Penguins locker room? pic.twitter.com/m2WAfLyrCB— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) November 21, 2022
“You saw it, this smile he had in warmup, the emotion he had when his son came into the room. It was special,” longtime teammate Kris Letang said. “Sometimes, Geno doesn’t show emotion that much. He’s a pretty strong guy usually.”
Now having played in his 1,000th game, Malkin is just the 65th player in NHL history to play all 1,000 of those games with one team, joining Sidney Crosby as the only two Pittsburgh Penguins with that achievement.
“It’s amazing. I feel like it’s yesterday that I played, like, my 10th game. And now tonight is my 1,000th game,” Malkin said. “It’s just crazy how fast time [has gone]. But lots of good memories. I’m glad I signed a contract this year to stay in Pittsburgh. It’s an amazing organization ... and we have great guys here.”
“I think it means a lot to him. This milestone is quite an accomplishment. There’s not too many players that play in this league that accomplish playing 1,000 games, never mind 1,000 games for a single franchise,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “We all know what Geno means to the city of Pittsburgh and this organization.”
The Pens went on to win the game 5-3 with Malkin getting in on the goal action.
The team now has a couple days off before facing Calgary at PPG Paints Arena on Wednesday, where the Pens are expected to honor Malkin for his new achievement he reached while on the road. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.