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Sakic Reaches 1,000 Assists

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
If you were to ask Joe Sakic, Saturday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers was just another day at the office. Just one of 82 regular season matchups in a battle to make the postseason. He might talk about the wild third period, during which a combined seven goals were scored as Edmonton skated away with a 7-5 win. And he would almost certainly mention how crucial each of Colorado’s six remaining games will be in regards to the playoff picture.

If you were to speak with Sakic, you would be hard pressed to know that he had just carved out yet another piece of history.

During the second period of Saturday’s game, Sakic started a breakout from the Avs’ defensive zone with a feed to forward Tyler Arnason. After working a quick give-and-go with rookie David Jones, Arnason deposited the puck into the Edmonton goal at the 4:58 mark during a Colorado power play.

Why was the play so significant?

With that touch of the puck, Sakic became only the 11th player in NHL history – and the only active skater – to reach 1,000 career assists, joining the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Mark Messier, Ray Bourque and a handful of other legends in the elite category.

Behind Sakic, only New York Rangers forward Jaromir Jagr has a realistic shot at joining the 1000 Club anytime soon. Jagr has 950 career assists through Saturday’s contests. After Jagr, Atlanta’s Mark Recchi (858) is the active player with the next highest assist total.

While hitting the 1,000 assist mark is understandably a huge milestone for any player to achieve, it wasn’t the only newsworthy mark that Sakic made in the past week.

During Monday’s contest against the Minnesota Wild, Sakic took a feed from Paul Stastny and beat Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom from the slot at the 4:51 mark of the second period for his 204th career power-play marker. The tally tied him with Gretzky for 12th place all-time in career power-play goals.

In a storied career such as Sakic’s, milestones seemingly become part of the routine. This year hasn’t been an exception for the 19-year NHL veteran.

Earlier in the season, the Burnaby, British Columbia, native became only the eighth player in NHL history to record 1,600 points when he assisted on Ryan Smyth’s overtime game-winner on Oct. 26 at Calgary. He previously passed Phil Esposito (1590) for eighth place on the all-time points list and overtook Bobby Hull (610) for sole possession of 14th place on the all-time goals list with a goal and an assist on Oct. 7 vs. San Jose.

Back to Saturday’s contest, Sakic apparently wasn’t quite satisfied with hitting the 1,000 assist plateau, because he also set up Wojtek Wolski’s goal at the 3:41 mark of the third period for his 22nd helper of the season.

Hitting an elite assist milestone, tying the Great One’s career mark for power-play goals…

Yep, just a few typical days at the office for Joe Sakic.

NHL All-Time Assist Leaders
Rank   Player                       Assists
1.          Wayne Gretzky        1963
2.          Ron Francis            1249
3.          Mark Messier          1193
4.          Ray Bourque           1169
5.          Paul Coffey              1135
6.          Adam Oates            1079
7.          Steve Yzerman        1063
8.          Gordie Howe           1049
9.          Marcel Dionne         1040
10.        Mario Lemieux        1033
11.        Joe Sakic*              1,001
12.        Doug Gilmour         964
13.        Jaromir Jagr*          950
14.        Al MacInnis              934
15.        Larry Murphy            929
16.        Stan Mikita               926
17.        Bryan Trottier           901
18.        Phil Housley            894
19.        Dale Hawerchuk     891
20.        Phil Esposito           873
21.        Denis Savard          865
22.        Mark Recchi*           858
23.        Bobby Clarke          852
24.        Alex Delvecchio      825
25.        Gilbert Perreault     814
26.        John Bucyk              813
27.        Pierre Turgeon       812
28.        Jari Kurri                  797
29.        Guy Lafleur              793
30.        Peter Stastny          789

*Active players
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