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All Eyes On Kessel After Yandle’s Retirement

(Photo Credit: @VegasGoldenKnights on Instagram)

NHL defenseman and current Iron Man Keith Yandle retired yesterday after 17 seasons in the league. The 36-year-old holds the record for playing in the most consecutive games (989) in NHL history. Yandle’s stretch lasted from March 26th 2009 until March 29, 2022. As impressive as his Iron Man streak is, it shouldn’t stand as the record for very long.

Just eight games into the 2022-23 season VGK forward Phil Kessel is expected to break Yandle’s streak. On October 24th, Vegas fans will witness history when Kessel ties the record. The next day in San Jose, the newest Golden Knight should play in his 990th consecutive NHL contest.

What’s interesting about Kessel breaking the record in a Golden Knights sweater is the lack of connection to the fans and the city. The right winger played 982 in other uniforms so we’ll see how the Vegas faithful react when Kessel ties and passes Yandle. They may mimic the night Sharks forward Patrick Marleau broke the record for most NHL games played. Some fans at T-Mobile Arena were excited to see league history unfold, others only cared about the score. Much like Marleau’s record, the Iron Man streak isn’t a Golden Knights franchise accomplishment.

You know it towards the end of the year when you’re signing young guys and getting free agents out of college that they’re gonna give them a chance to play. You’ve got to respect that out of the business side of it, what they’re trying to do here. –Keith Yandle, retired NHL defenseman in April 2022

One reasonable question to ask going into this season is how many games will Cassidy give Kessel to extend his record? There may come a point where the new coach considers scratching the veteran for younger bodies. Assuming Kessel’s performance doesn’t dip, we should expect him in the lineup every night. Especially, if the Golden Knights are struggling offensively.

Back to Philly, there was no doubt Yandle hurt the Flyers performance last season. The Philadelphia Inquirer chronicled moments throughout 2021-22 when the organization could/should have sat the struggling defenseman. When the decision was made to bench and end the Iron Man streak some players were upset with management. Others understood that it was time for the team to come first.

I’ve seen it at different times, where sometimes older players can be sort of jealous. I don’t want to say that they are trying to sabotage the young players, but certainly they feel threatened by them. And Keith has been absolutely nothing but supportive, professional with those guys. –Mike Yeo, former Flyers coach in April 2022

Assuming both sides spoke about the Iron Man streak while they were negotiating a contract, Kessel should have plenty of games to pad his stats. Not only will he break the record early on, but the forward’s next goal will also be his 400th. However, there could come a time that Cassidy will need to re-examine his lineup, especially if the team is off course. We have all heard about the coach’s reputation for putting players in their place so it’ll be interesting how Kessel’s minutes or appearances play out. Hopefully, at that point, the team will approach Kessel and have a conversation about the direction of the club.

Heck, that conversation may never happen if Phil the Thrill is tallying a point a game. Either way, we know the Iron Man-to-be will come ready to play.

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11 Comments

  1. Emmanuel

    I’m curious what his G/A radio will be. Last years lopsided A to G ratio reminded me of Paul Kariya last good year. I’m rooting for PK, hope he goes out with a bang…….and a Cup?

  2. Blitz

    Yeah WAR KESSEL!!! He’s a knight, of course, the fans will support it and him.

    I hope he gets 1000 then takes the next night off on purpose. Leaves the record at a 1000 and puts an end to this distraction before the real meat of the season. That, to me, would be perfect.

  3. Herby

    Could not care less about how many games Kessel played or will play in a row.
    Only care about how many goals he will score for us.

  4. Vic

    The iron man record is fun, but the iron men usually are in great shape, stay away from fights, penalties and have below average hits per game. Incredible that they show up healthy every day though. Since record keeping for hits was started, Kessel has a record of one hit every 6 games. Yandle was one hit every 1.5 games (remarkable for a D man but in line with Shea and Petra). At least Marleau had 1 hit per game for his career while scoring 566 goals.

    Now if Kessel can escape the VGK injury jinx, then great that he sets the record. After that….forget about it and play to win. My gut tells me Kessel will have a good season.

    • THE hockey GOD

      @ Vic
      my “gut” is enjoying a back east style pizza and “the BIG SALAD (George Costanza can’t touch this salad) from Naked City Pizzeria inside the Blue Diamond Saloon (anything West of Pecos is bar, until you get to LaLa land of cancel culture/ fruits/ nuts ), on Rainbow and Blue Diamond.

      • THE hockey GOD

        should read “anything West of Pecos is a SALOON not a bar, until you get to LaLa land of cancel culture/ fruits/ nuts”

      • Vic

        You say ‘back east pizza’? Try Brooklyn’s Best on Fort Apache. Sicilian pizza at its best.

  5. Jailbird

    Just because Kessel is a new Knight, I will still be excited for him to set that record!

  6. Obvious

    Maybe he will get a golden walker to hold him and his fat ass up

    • knights fan in minny

      maybe you should shut your lips you negative ass clown loser

    • Blitz

      That’s some lazy social media journalism you got going there Obvious. That is just shy of calling him a doo doo poo poo head. I am surprised you didn’t mention hot dogs. That usually is the stupid comment that tags along with the stupid comment. But to not just make this comment as lazy I will say….Phil actually looks in great shape. Perhaps he is ready to make that run at the end of his career. He is in the perfect spot to do it and the team desperately needs some one to step up and provide some real offense. Even in his AZ shape he would still be one of the better skaters on the team. I assume in good shape the dude will move very well. There is so many vanilla guys on this team it’s awesome to have someone with character/personality/history/etc.

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