Like his teammates who have been fortunate enough to celebrate the milestone of 1,000 games, Chris Phillips was finding that the experience can also be a numbing one, especially when it has the storybook quality that his has had.
He almost had to pinch himself after scoring two goals, including the winner, in his 1,000th to help the Senators beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 on Thursday night and break a seven-game losing streak.
“It couldn’t have been better, the way everything has worked out,” he said on Friday.
“Just playing in that game was exciting in itself, then to top it off with the way the game went, and the excitement around it, and family there to watch it, it’s been a lot of fun.”
It will take some time for the number itself to sink in. He’ll take a look back when his career is over. But considering that most players don’t get close to playing 1,000 games, Phillips knows he’s been pretty lucky.
He doesn’t have to look further that the Ottawa coaching staff to understand that.
Only Luke Richardson, who played 1,417 games, has played more than he has.
Next is head coach Paul MacLean at 719, Rick Wamsley at 407, Mark Reeds at 365, and Dave Cameron at 168.
“You know, I am very proud of it,” said Phillips.
“When you look at the number of guys who have done it, and then at the number of guys who have done it with one organization, compared to the number of guys who have played the game, to be in that select company feels good, and I’m very proud of that.
“You look at the careers of guys you followed when you were younger, and you’d never think you’d play more games than them. A guy like Cam Neely played only 600 or 700 games but he was such a household name you would have guessed that he would have played a lot more.
“It just seems weird to be in that company, when there are so many guys who had great careers who didn’t play that many.”