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Brunette To Play In 1,000th NHL Game

by Carly Peters / Minnesota Wild

The pre-game spotlight already shined on Andrew Brunette this season when his momentous goal in Game 7 against the Colorado Avalanche in the 2003 NHL Playoffs was named the top moment in Wild history before this season's home opener.

This time, the recognition will be a little more personal.

Bruno, as he's affectionately known, is expected to play in his 1,000th NHL game Tuesday, Feb. 1, when Minnesota hosts the Los Angeles Kings at 7 p.m at Xcel Energy Center. Tickets

In addition to recognizing him during Tuesday's game, the Wild will honor Brunette for reaching the 1,000-game NHL milestone in a special pre-game ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 9 when it hosts the Colorado Avalanche at 7 p.m. Tickets

The native of Sudbury, Ontario, has collected 688 points (250-438=688), including 109 power-play goals and 32 game-winning goals, as well as 306 penalty minutes in 999 games during his 15-year career. In six seasons with Minnesota (2001-04, 2008-11), the 6-foot-1, 212-pound winger has compiled 303 points (113-190=303) in 456 contests.

Brunette ranks second in Wild franchise history in goals, power-play goals (54) and points, third in games played and game-winning goals (16) and fourth in assists. He has tallied 34 points (16-18=34) in 43 playoff matches in his NHL career and scored the aforementioned overtime goal in Game 7 of the 2003 Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Colorado Avalanche.

Perhaps more remarkable than reaching the 1,000-game milestone is the fact that Bruno has done so as one of the NHL's top ironmen. Since 1998-99, Brunette has played in 937 games, the most of any NHL player. Despite the physical demands of his office behind the opponent's net, he has missed a total of three games since the start of the 2001-02 campaign.

At 37, he's the second oldest player in the Wild locker room - just a few months younger than NHL veteran John Madden. And even though Bruno takes plenty of ribbing from the guys for his salt-and-pepper hair or seemingly skating with a piano on his back, everyone knows he's still a force to be reckoned with. He still dominates the area behind the opponent's net like no other, sets up goals with sensational passes and even throws in an age-defying set of "hops" every so often, just to make sure we're still paying attention.

Brunette will be the second player to play his 1,000th NHL game in a Wild sweater. Keith Carney played in his 1,000th game with Minnesota on Feb. 27, 2008 at Tampa Bay. Bruno will also become the 261st player in NHL history to reach the 1,000-game milestone and the eighth player this season to reach the mark (Sergei Gonchar, Ryan Smyth, Mike Grier, Craig Conroy, Ed Jovanovski, Patrick Marleau and Jamie Langenbrunner).

Brunette was originally selected by Washington in the seventh round (174th overall) of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft and made his NHL debut with the Capitals on Jan. 17, 1996 at Chicago. He spent parts of three seasons in Washington (1995-98), one with the Nashville Predators where he scored the first goal in franchise history (1998-99), two with the Atlanta Thrashers (1999-2001) and three with Colorado (2005-08).
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