Last night, Marc-Edouard Vlasic played his 672nd career game with the San Jose Sharks. He has now become the longest-running defenseman in team history, as well as the youngest Sharks defenseman to achieve that distinction. While the hockey coverage on this blog has been overwhelmingly (but unintentionally) goalie-centric, I believe that the role of the shutdown defenseman is the most important in hockey. It tends to be a thankless one, since the lack of flashy plays ensures that the shutdown defender doesn’t get noticed unless he makes a mistake. Since Vlasic has a 2014 Olympic gold medal and a 2009 IIHF World Championship silver medal with Team Canada, it’s clear that Vlasic doesn’t make mistakes too often. At any rate, 672 games with one team is a true achievement for any player, let alone a 28-year-old. Congratulations!