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  • Nick Foligno discusses family and leadership ahead of his 1,000th game

    Tim Rosenthal March 15, 2022

    CHICAGO — For years, Bobby and Brett Hull stood alone as the only father-son duo to skate in 1,000 career NHL games. They’ll have some company come Tuesday in the same city Bobby called home for nearly a decade and a half.

    Once the puck drops for Tuesday’s Bruins-Blackhawks tilt, Nick Foligno will become the 364th player to join the 1,000-game club. He’ll become the second member of the Foligno family to achieve the illustrious milestone, joining his father, Mike, who touched the ice for 1,018 career games during his 16-year career.

    Foligno enjoyed an eventful last few weeks, highlighted by his return to Columbus on Mar. 6. The Bruins assisted in making Foligno’s homecoming memorable with a 4-3 shootout win against his former team. And now, the first-year Bruin is looking forward to sharing his milestone with his tight-knit teammates.

    “I’m not really one to think about myself too often, so…” Foligno said following Boston’s morning skate at United Center. “First of all, I’m really enjoying being with this group, and I’m really happy that it comes with this group. I care about these guys a lot in the short time that I’ve been with them. Just looking around, it was nice to be together in that way.”

    Ironically, Foligno’s 1,001st tilt will come Wednesday in Minnesota against his brother Marcus and the rest of the Wild.

    Of course, the brotherly love aspect came into play when the 1,000th game discussion popped up. But as Marcus expressed his congratulations to his older brother, Nick also shared his proudness of his younger sibling for his career to date.

    “He was trying to get me to be a healthy scratch one game so I can do it against him,” Foligno joked. “But yeah, it’s special, especially having a brother in the league. He and I have such a great bond, and I’m such a fan of his career and vice versa. So, he’s excited for me going through this, and I hope to see him do it as well.”

    Marcus will skate in his 659th career game come Wednesday. He’s on pace to achieve the 1,000-game milestone in roughly the next four seasons. If Marcus accomplishes the feat, the Foligno’s will become the first to have three family members in that illustrious club.

    The elder Foligno recently returned stateside after guiding Team Canada to a second-place finish in the Bejing Winter Paralympics. After a long trek back stateside, Mike will have a front-row seat on his couch for Nick’s special night and an extra spot in the household to frame another commemorative silver stick.

    “My dad actually just got back from Bejing. He was over there with the Canadian Paralympic team. They won silver, so congrats to him, but he just got back in time. So perfect timing to be able to watch the game tonight,” Foligno said. “It’s special. I think about his career and seeing that silver stick in our house too.

    “We’re obviously a hockey family, and I’ve said it before so I’m repeating myself, but it kind of rings true with the way we model ourselves in our career that if you’re good to the game, the game will be good to you. My dad instilled that in us as kids, and we’ve tried to live our lives like that for the game. And hopefully, this is one of those moments.”

    In the end, Foligno hopes the moment comes in a winning effort.

    No question, Foligno would like to increase his production amid disappointing statistical yea with a pair of goals and 11 points in 42 games. His impact, however, goes beyond the stat sheet.

    After a rough start filled with injuries and inconsistent play, the ever-talkative Foligno has settled into a fourth-line role with Tomas Nosek and Curtis Lazar.

    Head coach Bruce Cassidy noticed Foligno’s upbeat leadership up close as both a colleague and an opponent. His outspoken yet humble persona has complimented the leadership by example mentality displayed by captain Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and past core members like Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Kevan Miller, David Krejci and Tuukka Rask.

    “He leads on the ice by example for sure, and he’s a hard worker. But we have those guys [in the room]. Bergy and Marsh [Bergeron and Marchand] are two of the hardest-working guys. Zee [Chara] set that standard and Bergy and everyone down the line,” Cassidy said.

    “For us, it’s more of the vocal part and taking younger kids aside. And I think that’s where we need a little bit extra because we’re getting younger compared to where we were, where you’re losing a Krech [Krejci] or a Zee or Tuukka; guys that have been around that sort of took a guy under their wing. So, that’s where he’s done very well.”

    The Bruins, too, want to see Foligno rewarded on the scoresheet. But make no mistake, the two sides value each other’s presence on and off the ice.

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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