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Hockey Things: What Caught Our Eye Last Week (April 18 Edition)

NHL officiating history is made in Chicago, Mike Smith entered an exclusive club and videos games showcase truly how long Zdeno Chara's NHL career has lasted.
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Shandor Alphonso, Jordan Samuels-Thomas, and Jay Sharrers share a special moment 

NHL history was made on Thursday night -- not by the players on the ice, but via the officiating crew. During the San Jose Sharks-Chicago Blackhawks game at the United Center, Jordan Samuels-Thomas and Shandor Alphonso worked together in the first game to feature two Black on-ice officials. In Samuels-Thomas' case, it marked his NHL officiating debut.

Fittingly, one of the managing officials that night happened to be the NHL's first black on-ice official, Jay Sharrers who worked as both a linesman and a referee from 1990 to 2016. 

Mike Smith stands tall and makes history 

Edmonton's goaltending has been one of the biggest storylines in hockey this season, but don't tell Mike Smith that. In his last eight starts he has a mark of 7-0-1 with a goals-against average of 1.87 and a save percentage of .940. 

Smith's past two starts -- wins over Nashville and Vegas -- saw him record a shutout in both games, adding his name to a very exclusive list of goaltenders who've recorded back-to-back shutouts at 40 years or older. 

Only six other goaltenders have accomplished the feat. with the likes of Hockey Hall of Fame members George Hainsworth, Johnny Bower, and Dominik Hasek on the list. When it comes to lists of this caliber, those are some pretty legendary names to be attached to. 

Zdeno Chara is old -- really old

Zdeno Chara is amazing. Full stop. The New York Islanders blueliner is in his 24th NHL season at the age of 45, the list of players who've played close to a quarter-century in the league is not exactly a long one. The EA Sports NHL video game series further shows how amazing and how long his career has lasted. 

Chara's debut in the series came in NHL 98, a game that predates the birth of multiple teammates in New York such as Oliver Wahlstrom, Kieffer Bellows, and Noah Dobson. 

Chara and Joe Thornton are the final two men standing in the league when that game was active, and that alone should be applauded. 

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