When he steps onto the ice or is on the ice...
A "game played" is credited to any player, except the
goaltender, who is on the ice when the game is in action.
While the goaltender is credited with a "game played" if
he is injured during the course of the game, it doesn't
count in "consecutive games played" if he is removed
during the game. Glenn Hall's "consecutive games played"
ended at 502 for this reason when he suffered a pinched nerve during his 503rd game. Thus, a goaltender is
credited with a game played, but not for a consecutive
game played, if he is injured during the game and can't continue.
Garry Unger might well have played 1000 consecutive games
if he continued stepping on the ice in 1979-80. But in his
915th consecutive game, he did not step on the ice, and
thus, the streak came to an end. All a player has to do
is be on the ice when play is commenced and he will be
credited with a "game played". He can skate to the bench
if he is injured and still be given credit for a game played.