Mario Lemieux Celebrates Pens Defenseman's 1000th Game

Ryan Fiore
April 2, 2023  (11:44)

It's not every day you get to celebrate playing 1000 games in the NHL.

Defenseman Celebrates Huge Milestone

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang made his NHL debut on October 5, 2006 against the Philadelphia Flyers. Today, he's going to celebrate playing in his 1000th game...against the exact same team. Over the course of nearly 17 years, Letang has made a name for himself, registering 154 goals and 532 assists with the Pens.
The 35 year old was selected 62nd overall by the Penguins in the 2005 NHL Draft. He scored his first NHL goal against the New York Rangers exactly one week after his debut.
Letang, however, is not the only Penguin to reach such a honorary milestone. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby celebrated his 1000th game on February 20, 2021, while alternate captain Evgeni Malkin played in his 1000th game on November 23, 2022.
Crosby, Malkin and Letang are the only three Penguins in franchise history to play in 1000 games.

Mario Lemieux Congratulates Letang


Former Penguins captain and 5x Stanley Cup champion Mario Lemieux took to social media to express his emotions on Letang playing in his 1000th game.

Letang's Health Problems

Reaching this milestone certainly posed for Letang, as health issues set the defenseman back multiple times.
Weeks after the 2013-14 season began, the then 26 year old would suffer a stroke that would cause him to miss six weeks.
"'I woke up and my wife found me on the ground,' Letang said. 'The day before I was totally fine. I was practicing. I woke up that morning not expecting that would happen. I drove to the airport with my mom and thought it would clear up, but it never did.'»

Letang would suffer yet another stroke on November 28, 2022, but returned to the ice two weeks later. The strokes were believed to be caused by a hole in Letang's heart that never closed up after he was born.
His strokes, however, were not the only obstacles to overcome. Letang would miss the 2016-17 playoffs after needing surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck.
Another challenge Letang faced was the loss of his father at the beginning of the year. Despite the challenges, Letang has overcome and will be the 381st NHL player to skate in 1000 games.
The Penguins are set to face off against the Flyers at 6:00 p.m.
As Read on NHL - Letang Discusses His Stroke, Recovery and Return
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Mario Lemieux Celebrates Pens Defenseman's 1000th Game

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