Islanders’ Chara breaks NHL record for defenseman games

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Zdeno Chara broke the NHL record for most games played by a defenseman on Thursday night.

The seven-time star was on the ice for the New York Islanders in the opener against San Jose in his 1,652nd regular season game. He broke the mark set by Hall of Famer Chris Chelios.

Chara received a standing ovation from the SAP Center crowd and waved as his achievement was announced during a stoppage in play. The Sharks also released a congratulatory video message from the former San Jose forward Patrick Marleau, who holds the NHL record for most games by any player.

The Slovakian star, the tallest player in NHL history at 6-foot-9, is in the twilight of a decorated career that began in 1997 when he was just 20 years old. He is now three weeks away from his 45th birthday and he signed a one-year contract with the Islanders before this season to reunite with the team he started his career with.

Chara won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman in 2008-09 while with Boston. Two seasons later, he captained a Bruins team that won the Stanley Cup. He also spent time with Ottawa and the Washington Capitals during his 24-year career.

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