Zdeno Chara sets NHL record for most games played by a defenseman

Zdeno Chara of Trencin, Slovakia made National Hockey League history on Thursday by playing in his 1652nd regular season game. Chara passes Chris Chelios of Chicago, Illinois, who played 1651 games with the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings and Atlanta Thrashers from 1983 to 2010.

Chara broke the record while playing for the New York Islanders in a 4-3 loss in San Jose. In 16 minutes and 26 seconds worth of ice time, Chara played in 25 shifts, and had one shot on goal and five penalty minutes. Chara’s five penalty minutes came from a fight against Sharks’ forward Jeffrey Viel of L’ange-Gardien, Quebec, at 2:29 of the second period. Chara also had one hit and one block.

Chara has played 1651 games during 24 NHL seasons with the Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals from 1997 to 2022. Of Chara’s 1651 career games, he has played 1023 games with the Bruins, 299 games with the Senators, 275 games with the Islanders, and 55 games with the Capitals.

In Chara’s regular season career, he has 207 goals and 467 assists for 674 points. He is a +297 with 2073 penalty minutes, 226 power play points, 35 shorthanded points, 35 game-winning goals, and 3391 shots on goal.

During the 2021-22 NHL season for the Islanders, the 44 year-old Chara has eight assists for eight points. He is also a +4 with 73 penalty minutes, 53 shots on goal. 56 blocked shots, 89 hits, five takeaways, and 32 giveaways.

Chara is eighth all-time in NHL games. He is behind San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau of Swift Current, Saskatchewan (1779 games played), Hockey Hall of Famer Gordie Howe of Floral, Saskatchewan (1767 games played), Hockey Hall of Famer Mark Messier of Edmonton, Alberta (1756 games played), Jaromir Jagr of Kladno, Czech Republic (1753 games played), Hockey Hall of Famer Ron Francis of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (1731 games played), Florida Panthers center Joe Thornton of London, Ontario (1704 games played), and Hockey Hall of Famer Mark Recchi of Kamloops, British Columbia (1652 games played).

This is the second time a NHL defenceman this season has reached a milestone when it comes to games played. On January 25, 2022, Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Keith Yandle of Boston, Massachusetts set the NHL record for most consecutive games played with 965.