It’s a night to salute perseverance, dedication, longevity, and the impact of many who have suited up in an NHL jersey just like him.
Mark Giordano will be honored for playing in the 1,000th game of his National Hockey League career, one of 364 players in the league’s all-time history for crossing that milestone, shortly before the puck drop after 7pm PT when the Seattle Kraken take on the Tampa Bay Lightning at Climate Pledge Arena.
Giordano, who participated in morning skate, will be in a suit – not pads and a Kraken jersey for the ceremony. With the trade deadline five days away, head coach Dave Hakstol confirmed Giordano will sit out tonight’s game, his first time in the press box missing a Dec. 6 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins while finishing a six-game stint in COVID-19 protocol. He has never missed a game, when available, up until today.
After practice on Tuesday, Giordano said his parents will be in person for the ceremony – then a “good meal” with family at a local Seattle restaurant.
“Hopefully after the game we’ll get to spend some time together again,” said Giordano.
“It’s going to be a special celebration for my family and myself. I really look forward to those moments now. As you get older, you cherish those moments than when you were a young 20 year old.”
Ryan Donato, who has scored in back to back games, examined the effect of Giordano’s leadership on the development of the Kraken dressing room.
“With opportunity everyone’s going to step up,” said Donato. “It’s a new organization and there’s definitely a lot of opportunities to be a leader, when things aren’t going well. So I think it’s harder to find those moments, and guys are starting to put together the reasoning. In those moments, you’ve got to find leadership and have guys stick up for each other.”
The shuffle in the lineup is expected to moderately adjust the defensive pairs and line combinations the Kraken had previously set in Montreal – Jaden Schwartz has skated in the last five games since returning from injury but did appear on ice this morning. Philipp Grubauer will start for the Kraken in net.
“You have to rebuild your momentum every day,” said Hakstol. “I don’t believe in it carrying over one way to the other. Our guys felt good about a lot of things on the road trip. For that reason, it was important to finish off with a win on that trip.”
Tampa Bay will be finishing a six-game trip this evening, getting their train back on the tracks after a win in Vancouver, 2-1 on March 13 after losing three in a row for the first time all season.
Steven Stamkos, a two-time Stanley Cup champion and Lightning captain, will skate in the 900th game of his NHL career tonight, joining Lightning alum Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis the only members of the organization to last that long as a player.
It’s St. Louis, Stamkos said, who gave him the drive to last 900 games, influential on his current teammates.
“There’s a correlation between the work ethic and the top players,” said Stamkos. “We see it here. I’ve been blessed to play with a lot of great players over my career but Marty being the first one who showed me the ropes – now seeing guys like (Nikita Kucherov), (Victor Hedman), (Andrei Vasilevskiy), (Brayden Point), and the elite players and how hard they work.”
“You’d like to think maybe you had a little hand in that, and showing them the ropes when they came in.”
Tampa Bay is led by Stamkos’ 63 points and 27 goals in 58 games. Vasilevskiy is expected to start.