“It’s a fantastic accomplishment.”
Oilers bench boss Todd Nelson summed it up perfectly when asked about veteran centreman Boyd Gordon playing in his 600th career NHL game last night in Tampa. After stints in Washington and Phoenix, the 31-year-old Saskatchewan native has endeared himself to the Oilers organization and their fans for his work ethic and unsung hero mentality.
“Gordo’s carved out a very nice career for himself,” Coach Nelson added. “He really plays a good, hard game and is always in the trenches. He’s a guy that goes in the faceoff dot for key draws and carries the lion’s share of the penalty kill. He’s a guy that tries to do things right every time and be consistent.”
Always humble and typically a man of few words, Gordon said he feels lucky to be in the NHL and relishes each day at the rink.
“It’s something I'm proud of and it was definitely a special night for me,” he said. “You just want to keep playing games and play for as long as you can. It’s a privilege to play in this league. Any time you get an opportunity to play in the NHL, it’s something you want to treasure.”
Gordon has done 600 games the hard way too, considering his top performance traits are winning faceoffs, blocking shots, marking opposing teams’ top players and killing penalties. He scored 81 points in his final WHL season with the Red Deer Rebels in 2002-03, but became a faceoff-winning, shutdown specialist in the NHL.
“I put up some points in junior, but when you’re a pro you have to figure out what you’re good at and what your niche is, and and I think I found that,” said Gordon, who credits his father, as well as his Rebels coach Brent Sutter, for teaching him the game and how to develop his faceoff prowess.
Gordon ranks second in the NHL in blocked shots by a forward this season with 53 (Ryan Getzlaf has 57), sits eighth in the league in faceoff success at 56.5% and sixth in total faceoff wins with 843. He’s also scored five goals this year and has a career-high 12.5% shooting success rate.