New NHL Ironman
Keith Yandle becomes the new NHL record holder for most consecutive games played
The Beat Goes On
What’s Happening: NHL journeyman and offensive defenseman Keith Yandle, from the Philadelphia Flyers, recently set the NHL’s ‘Ironman’ record by playing in his 965th consecutive game.
Playing 965 games in the NHL is an incredible feat, but when you consider that Yandle has played in those games consecutively, it truly makes you appreciate the significance of this record. The record Yandle broke was set by Doug Jarvis way back in 1986, so it’s been quite the feat to topple. What makes it all the more impressive is that during the prime of his career, Yandle was playing top-pairing minutes highlighted by his 24:09 minutes of average ice-time during his age-27 season.
Being on the ice for nearly half the game and making it through, year after year, without any sort of injury, especially in such a physical sport like hockey, should make any hockey fan appreciate this milestone even more.
What’s Next: With 39 games left for the Philadelphia Flyers, it’s hard not to imagine Yandle wanting to stop his Ironman streak now in favor of a game off or two. Surely he’s earned it over the past 13 years since when his streak began, though. However, with the 39 remaining games and Yandle at 965 consecutive games, the next big milestone for Yandle is cracking that 1,000 consecutive games mark.
Obviously no other player has accomplished this feat before and with Yandle accomplishing it, it would really cement his legacy as the NHL’s true Ironman. Barring any unforeseen circumstances such as an injury or a COVID-19 exposure, Yandle is likely to reach the 1,000 consecutive games mark. The Flyers are having an all-time miserable season that has been capped off with two, 10-or-more consecutive losing streaks. It’s unlikely that in such a horrible season the Flyers don’t grant Yandle the opportunity to at least chase the 1,000 consecutive games milestone.
Hot on his Heels: One would think that an Ironman feat like this would be a once in a generation type of deal, but amazingly, that simply is not the case. Phil Kessel of the Arizona Coyotes is hot on Yandle’s tail as the next Ironman. Kessel is currently at 940 consecutive games.
It’s incredible to note that Kessel began his streak a mere seven months after Yandle had started his. Kessel has 41 games remaining and only 25 to go until he topples Doug Jarvis’ old mark. However, this still leaves Kessel short of 19 games before he cracks 1,000, and that’s if he plays every game for the remainder of the season. The problem with this is that Kessel is without a contract next year and there may not be that many teams that are willing to bite on an aging, 35-year-old winger. However, if Kessel is able to land a team-friendly, one-year deal, there’s a good chance he may be able to join Yandle in the 1,000 consecutives game club should Yandle make it there first.
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