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Teammates Reflect on Getzlaf's 1,000-Game Milestone

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara / AnaheimDucks.com

Tonight, Ryan Getzlaf will skate in his 1,000th NHL game when the Ducks battle the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center, becoming just the sixth player in the last 40 NHL seasons to play his first 1,000 games with one franchise.

Drafted 16 years ago in the first round (19th overall) of the 2003 NHL Draft, Getzlaf, 34, will also become the eighth active player to appear in his first 1,000 career games with the same team, and the 53rd all-time (19th as a center). Ironically, Getzlaf made his NHL debut 14 years ago against the Blackhawks on Oct. 5, 2005 in Chicago.

Leading up to his milestone achievement, several of Getzlaf's teammates shared their thoughts on what it means to see him reach 1,000 games.

Ryan Miller
As his teammate, what does it mean to you to see Getzlaf reach 1,000 games?
It's been nice watching him. I got to know Getzy a little bit because my brother [Drew] was a teammate of his early on. It's been nice to go through his long career, and my career, too. Look across the ice to see somebody that's challenging to play against, and then come to Anaheim and enjoy having him around the room and enjoy being around his family. He's a big personality and he likes to have a lot of fun. You can see that on the ice. You have to suit up a lot of games not feeling your best. You have to go out and compete.

What kind of sacrifices does it take a player to reach that kind of milestone?
When you're the kind of player that's looked upon to make a difference, you're going to put yourself out there every night. Seeing how important he is to the team, I think he takes that upon himself to be available every night he can. To be there and be available 1,000 times in the regular season is pretty outstanding.

What kind of leader has he been in the time you've been here?
Just his competitive nature. It's just who he is as a person. He likes to have fun and compete. That's what he brings to the ice. A lot of joy in his game. A lot of smiles, but there's also an edge to his game. He wants to win. He wants to beat you at just about everything. I appreciate that kind of stuff in a player because that's what it takes to be at a high level. Every moment is a competitive moment, but he knows how to make it fun.

Hampus Lindholm
What does it mean to you to see Getzlaf reach 1,000 games?

It's a big milestone. He's been so good and such a good leader for so long. He's been playing in this league for so long, you almost expect it, but it's a big milestone. It's really impressive.

There are many times throughout a career when a player has to battle through pain. With his style of play, does it make it that much more impressive to see him reach 1,000 games?
He always puts the team first. That's a big way of looking at it. He always competes hard. Through those 1,000 games, there were probably a lot of games when the body wasn't feeling great. He goes out there and puts his body on the line for his teammates and the fans. It's really impressive to see.

Does his leadership inspire you on a daily basis?
For sure. The older players that have been around this team for the years I've been fortunate to be here, it's about watching them. Seeing what they do on a daily basis and how they compete. Seeing what they do on the ice. You learn a lot from them.

Devin Shore
What does it mean to you to see Getzlaf reach 1,000 games?

It's special. Any time you see it across the league, there's a tremendous amount of respect. There's a ton of work that goes into it. Yes, he's incredibly blessed with a lot of talent, but you don't get to 1,000 games without a tremendous work ethic and grinding it out. He's had a pretty special career, but he's also a great leader and a good person. When it happens to a guy like that, you can't help but smile. It's a fun thing to be a part of.

What kind of message does he send to the team when he prepares for battle on a nightly basis?
It's inspiring. Especially just the style of game he's played for 1,000 games. Throughout his entire career, he's a guy that can beat you in a number of different ways. Whether it's his grit and size, or his skill and vision. The game and the style he's played for 1,000 games can't be easy on the body, so it just speaks to his tenacity and the way he's carried himself as a professional to take care of himself throughout his career.

What kind of leadership qualities does he have that stand out to you?
His demeanor. On the ice, he's intense and the first guy to get in the battle and stick up for his teammates. But when we need to take a breath as a team, he never gets uptight or wound up. He's a pretty calming presence on the bench and in the room. It's a different story when we get out on the ice and the temperature gets turned up.

Cam Fowler
Getzlaf has been your captain ever since you broke into the league in 2010. What does it mean to you to see him reach 1,000 games?

Super excited for him. It's a milestone that, as a hockey player, you'd love to reach someday. Tremendous accomplishment. Really couldn't happen to a better guy or better leader.

You've seen firsthand the kind of warrior he is on the ice, and the physical toll his body takes night after night.
In many ways, he's an old school guy. Part of that was always about playing through pain. He's battled through a lot in his career. As hockey players, it's kind of a badge of honor to play hurt. He takes a tremendous amount of pride in that, and tries to have his body physically ready every night. If he's not 100 percent, he's going to give you everything he has unless he absolutely can't contribute. That's been his M.O. since I've been here.

What does it mean to see your captain leading by example like that?
It's something you respect. Absolutely. Especially when it's your captain. You see your captain laying it on the line playing hurt. As one of his followers, or as a guy underneath him, you have no excuse to not bring the same effort. That's been consistent here since I've been here. He battles, and the rest of us had better be ready, too.

Even in the later stages of his career, he still has the ability to be a game changer. Take for example, his game-winning breakaway goal a few nights ago against Vancouver.
Yeah, that move [on Jacob Markstrom] was pretty nice. [Laughs]. He impacts the game in so many ways. Even when he might not make it on the score sheet, he has a big hit to change the momentum, or he sticks up for a teammate when they need it. The one thing I've admired about him over the course of time is he's got a great feel for the game. He knows when it might be his time to step up and fight somebody. That's leadership. He doesn't always have to score or get an assist. He finds a way to impact the game in so many different ways.

Derek Grant
What does it mean to you to see Getzlaf reach 1,000 games?

It's a hell of an accomplishment. It's cool when you get to watch a guy like that, when he came into the league as I was growing up. Seeing him succeed at a young age, and be a guy you look up to. To get to play with him the last few seasons, and be here for that moment is cool. I've been a part of a couple of them. It's always neat to see. It's a great accomplishment for anybody. He's a guy that plays hard. He's put some miles on his body. To last that long playing the way he does, and still be such an important part of this team and a big contributor and a great contributor, it's great to see.

He's been through quite a few long playoff runs, too, which probably take a few years off of your life. [Laughs]. He's a warrior. He's a guy that can take over a game at any time. It's fun to play with a guy like that. Learn things from a guy like that. Everyone in here is proud of what he's accomplished. We're proud to call him a teammate.

Any time your leader has an accomplishment like that, it's going to be an emotional night for him. It's a special night for him, but for us to be a part of it, it's going to be a special night for everyone. We want to make sure we come prepared and we have his back. It's going to be a fun night.

Troy Terry
What kind of impact has Getzlaf had on your career?

He's just been an ultimate mentor to me. He's told me he sees some similarities [between his game and mine.] It's an incredible compliment to me. Obviously, I'm not Ryan Getzlaf when he came into the league. He's always been a passer, and having people tell him to shoot the puck. He's kind of worked through that with me. I've got to learn to have a shooting mentality. Just stuff like that. He's always worked with me. He's a guy that will be hard on me. When I mess up, he's going to go out of his way to tell me I need to be better. Coming from him, it really resonates. But he's also the first guy to congratulate me when I score. He's always going out of his way to mentor me and the young guys. It's so amazing to see.

There was one point this year when we were on the power play. They put him in front of the net, which is a spot he's never played on the power play. I remember just thinking maybe he'd be annoyed by that because he's Ryan Getzlaf. I looked at him, and he was like, 'Wherever they need me, I'm going to play.' Just stuff like that. He's such a team guy. All of us young guys are really fortunate to have him.

Head coach Dallas Eakins
What does it mean to you to see Getzlaf reach 1,000 games?

It's very difficult to accomplish. It's quite an accomplishment for anyone, let alone in one organization, which I think is extremely hard to do. That accomplishment is one that is highly regarded in the game. Sometimes it's hard for people to wrap their head around that you've actually played that many games. A great amount of grit. That passion and perseverance through a whole lot of adversity to get that amount of game under your belt is impressive.

Tweet from @AdamHenrique: Congratulations Getz! Awesome to be a part of your 1000th NHL Game! pic.twitter.com/ZlE7dCtF5f

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