Defenseman Brian Leetch has added another historic milestone to his already impressive list of NHL achievements, as he became only the third player in New York Rangers history to appear in 1,000 NHL games on tonight vs. the Ottawa Senators.
Leetch joins Hockey Hall of Famers Harry Howell (1,160) and Rod Gilbert (1,065) as the only other Blueshirt players to ever reach the lofty plateau. Ironically, Leetch’s first NHL game was played on February 29, 1988 vs. St. Louis – almost 14 years to the day of his 1,000th.
Leetch, in his 15th Rangers/NHL season, is the franchise's all-time leader in assists (687) and owns every major offensive category record among Blueshirt defensemen. He also ranks second all-time in scoring among United States born defensemen, trailing Phil Housley of the Chicago Blackhawks. Leetch has tallied 213 goals and 687 assists for 900 points, along with 473 penalty minutes in his NHL career thus far.
“Each year I see more and more guys reach this plateau, but it’s still special,” Leetch said following today’s morning skate at Madison Square Garden. “You have to have some good timing and luck to stay in one organization for so long. I’ve been very fortunate and it’s something that I take pride in doing.”
Leetch becomes the second Ranger to reach the 1,000 games plateau this season. Theoren Fleury accomplished the feat on January 23, 2002 vs. Boston.