Vanessa Carlton helps Capitals’ John Carlson celebrate reaching milestone of 1,000 NHL games

FILE - In this June 9, 2019 file photo, Vanessa Carlton arrives at the 73rd annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson is on the verge of reaching the 1,000 NHL games milestone, and pop star Vanessa Carlton is part of the celebration. Saturday night March 30, 2024 against the Boston Bruins, Carlson is set to be the 128th defenseman in league history to skate in 1,000 regular-season games. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

FILE – In this June 9, 2019 file photo, Vanessa Carlton arrives at the 73rd annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson is on the verge of reaching the 1,000 NHL games milestone, and pop star Vanessa Carlton is part of the celebration. Saturday night March 30, 2024 against the Boston Bruins, Carlson is set to be the 128th defenseman in league history to skate in 1,000 regular-season games. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson has reached the milestone of 1,000 NHL games, and pop singer Vanessa Carlton lent her voice to be part of the celebration.

Carlton remixed her hit song “A Thousand Miles” with Carlson-themed lyrics as part of a collaboration between the team and the production company Fresh Tape Media.

On Saturday night against the Boston Bruins, Carlson became the 128th defenseman in league history to skate in 1,000 regular-season games. Through his first 999, the 34-year-old has played the 41st-most minutes of any player in the league since ice time started being tracked officially in 1997-98, totaling just under 24,000 minutes — plus 3,005 more in the playoffs.

“He’s not just a point producer that is just playing the top of the power play and able to play that for 20 years,” coach Spencer Carbery said. “He’s playing that, plus he’s playing penalty kill, plus he’s playing 5 on 5 when you need to defend a lead and when you need to score a goal. That ability and uniqueness, there’s very few that log minutes in all those situations like he has throughout his career.”

Carlson, who is originally from Natick, Massachusetts, but spent much of his childhood in New Jersey, has taken more than 26,000 regular-season shifts, all with Washington, since getting drafted in the first round in 2008 and making his debut in 2009.

“You try not to think about it like that,” Carlson said Saturday morning when told that stat.

Carlton’s song remix was released after the player with a similar sounding last name spoke to reporters following the team’s morning skate.

Carlson is the 80th player to dress in 1,000 games with one team. His milestone comes a couple of weeks after teammate T.J. Oshie hit 1,000, and going through that helped prepare Carlson for what to expect not only Saturday night but next weekend (April 7 vs. Ottawa) when the Capitals hold a ceremony to honor him.

“You got so much going on now, in the now, in this league and where we are and just worrying about what’s at stake all the time,” Carlson said. “Just trying not to be a distraction to what we have on our plate right now and where we are.”

The Capitals are trying to return to the playoffs after missing last year for the first time in Carlson’s pro career. He was a huge part of their 2018 Stanley Cup run, playing in all 24 games and recording 20 points while averaging nearly 26 minutes a night.

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