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Tkachuk Plays in 1,000th NHL game

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues
Tkachuk is just the 28th U.S.-born player to play in 1,000 career NHL games.

Last season, Doug Weight and Bill Guerin reached the 1,000 games played milestone as members of the St. Louis Blues.

Add Keith Tkachuk to that list.

The 6-foot-2, 232-pound center was originally drafted as the first choice of the Winnipeg Jets (19th overall) in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft. He has spent 15 seasons in the league, seven of which are as a member of the Blues.

“I would say it’s pretty special. It’s hard to get in the NHL, and it’s more difficult to stay in for a long time. I’m pretty proud of that,” Tkachuk said. “I’m pretty excited, especially to do it as a St. Louis Blue.”

Tkachuk is the 224th player in NHL history to play in 1,000 games and is only the 28th U.S. born player to reach the milestone.

Doug Weight, who played in his 1,000th game last season, said Tkachuk probably had butterflies before Saturday night's game.

"Coming into this league, you don't think you're ever going to make that amount of games. You just want to make the team to start with," Weight said. "To have longevity and a great career, as much as it's just another game, it's pretty exciting."

During his rookie season with the Jets, Tkachuk played in 17 games, recording three goals and eight assists. Since then, he’s put together a resume that boasts 945 career points (479 goals and 466 assists). During the 1996-97 season, he became the only U.S. born player in NHL history to lead the league in goal scoring with 52 goals, a mark that still stands today.

Tkachuk, who was staring at an empty net late in Saturday's game, made an unselfish play and passed the puck to Weight.

"We were hoping that Keith would get one there at the end, too," Blues coach Andy Murray said. "What a description of a team player. He tried to give Doug a pass, and that's a statement for the player and the person."

Tkachuk was first acquired by the Blues on March 13, 2001 in a trade with Phoenix that sent Michal Handzus, Ladislav Nagy, Jeff Taffe and a 2002 first round draft choice to the Coyotes.

The Blues will honor Tkachuk with a pregame ceremony before the Dec. 11 game vs. Edmonton.

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