EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Fifteen years ago Martin St. Louis was in Japan for his first NHL game, and he felt just as unfamiliar on the ice as he did off it.
Then with the Calgary Flames for season-opening overseas games against the San Jose Sharks, St. Louis took the ice at small Yoyogi Arena on Oct. 9, 1998. His teammates included Theo Fleury, Phil Housley and Jarome Iginla.
"I remember walking away from my first game thinking I could have done more," St. Louis said. "I was still a fan. I was impressed by the players I was playing with and against. Once I stopped being a fan, it helped my game."
Fast forward to Tuesday night, when many will be in awe at St. Louis, 38, who will play his 1,000th game when his Tampa Bay Lightning plays the Los Angeles Kings. It has been a remarkable run for St. Louis, who has missed only seven games in the past 10 years. Fewer than 300 players have reached the milestone.