MONTREAL - The Canadiens host the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre tonight in what will be the 5,868th regular season game in franchise history (5,718th in the NHL), but for centreman Bryan Smolinski who will suit up for his 8th game in a Canadiens jersey, tonight’s match-up will see him reach a historic milestone as he skates in his 1,000th NHL regular season game.
Ironically, Smolinski’s 1,000th game comes against the team he first began his NHL career with back on March 27, 1993 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, jut a few weeks before the Canadiens captured their 24th Stanley Cup.
Bryan Smolinski is the second Canadiens player, after Roman Hamrlik, to play in his 1,000th NHL game this month and before October is over he will be one three Canadiens to have reached that plateau. Smolinski becomes the 220th player to play 1,000 games in the NHL (Calgary’s Owen Nolan is scheduled to play his 1,000th game later tonight) and the 9th player to do so in a Canadiens jersey after Henri Richard, Claude Provost, Frank Mahovlich, Larry Robinson, Bob Gainey, Jean Béliveau, Stéphane Quintal and Roman Hamrlik. The native of Toledo, Ohio is the 27th US-born* player to play 1,000 NHL games and only the third player out of Michigan State University to do so after Rod Brind’Amour and Kelly Miller.
Like his millenium teammates Roman Hamrlik (October 3 at Carolina) and Alex Kovalev, Bryan Smolinski began his NHL career during the 1992-93 season. Alex Kovalev (playing his 999th NHL game tonight) will be the next player to join this elite club on Friday October 26 when the Canadiens visit the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh.