A Phoenix Coyotes player hit a milestone Tuesday against the Vancouver Canucks: Defenseman Zbynek Michalek played in his 600th career National Hockey League game.
The 30-year-old native of Jindřichův Hradec, Czechoslovakia, has been in the NHL since 2003, when he made his debut with the Minnesota Wild. He only played 22 games in his first season tallying just two points and spent the next year with the Wild’s AHL affiliate in Houston.
Michalek was traded to the Coyotes in 2005 for Eric Westrum and Dustin Wood. He led the NHL in blocked shots during the 2008-2009 season and helped the Coyotes secure a playoff berth in 2010, the team’s first since 2002.
However, Michalek then left the Valley during the summer of ’10 on a five-year deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins. After two years, Phoenix traded Harrison Ruopp, goaltender Marc Cheverie and a pick to bring Michalek back to the desert.
So far in the 2013-2014 season, Michalek is second in the NHL in blocked shots. He’s averaging 22:12 of ice time per game and is a plus-8. He also has yet to miss a game due to injury.
Michalek’s younger brother, Milan, plays for the Ottawa Senators.