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, Sports Reporter
FRISCO — For one last time, the Stars and Jason Spezza will celebrate him playing 1,000 NHL games, this time Saturday afternoon when Dallas hosts Nashville.
Spezza hit the milestone last week in Montreal, as the Stars were amid a six-game East coast road trip, delaying a ceremony in front of the home crowd at the American Airlines Center. Spezza will be presented with the customary silver stick given to players when they hit 1,000 games.
Spezza has already celebrated the accomplishment with the team (they went to dinner in Montreal together), to reporters (he answered plenty of questions in Montreal about the milestone), and with opposing fans (Canadiens fans gave Spezza a standing ovation when the team recognized the feat on the video board).
But he hasn’t done so in front of the home crowd.
“I love it here in Dallas,” Spezza said. “It’s been great. It’s become home for my kids. They go to school here and we know the people in our community. It’s a place we really enjoy being in.”
Spezza is in his fifth season with Dallas after being traded from Ottawa. He enters Saturday with 76 goals and 135 assists, ranking 40th in franchise history with 211 points. This year, he has 10 points in 16 games as he tries to rebound from a career-worst year last season.
When he was traded to the Stars in the summer of 2014, Spezza had just one year remaining on his deal, about to hit the free agent market. But four months after his arrival in Texas, Spezza signed a four-year, $30 million contract that expires at the end of this season, in part because of life for his wife and now four kids.
“Wherever I got traded to, we were going to have to be comfortable with the school system and that’s why I didn’t want to sign before I got here and played,” Spezza said. “So I played a few months, got comfortable and then I signed an extension. That was a big priority for life outside of hockey. The biggest [hockey] priority was just being comfortable with the organization.”
Spezza was the 326th NHL player to reach 1,000 games and 214th forward.
“It’ll be nice to kind of put the bow on the whole 1,000 games and get it to come and go,” Spezza said. “I got a lot of people in town, so it’s nice to have them come to. It’s a chance for everybody to be together. After the weekend, it’ll be nice to get back to playing, too.”