Jan 26, 2022 - Sports

The NHL's Iron Man

Keith Yandle warms up prior to Tuesday night's game.
Keith Yandle warms up prior to Tuesday night's game. Photo: Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle, 35, appeared in his 965th consecutive regular-season game on Tuesday, passing forward Doug Jarvis (1975–87) to become the NHL's new "Iron Man."

The big picture: Yandle's streak began on March 26, 2009. The longevity is particularly impressive given defensemen tend to play far more — and more dangerous — minutes than any position besides goaltender.

  • Yandle's 20,877 minutes since the streak began are sixth-most in the league, and his 572 points are third among defensemen, behind Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns.
  • There have been close calls, most notably in November 2019 when a puck knocked out nine of his teeth. But of course, he returned to the ice in the same game.

The big picture: Yandle is the only active player among the "Big Four" to hold his league's all-time Iron Man streak. (Note: All records include regular-season games only.)

  • MLB: Cal Ripken Jr. played in 2,632 straight games from 1982–98. (Active leader: Royals 2B Whit Merrifield, 469 games)
  • NFL: Brett Favre started 297 straight games from 1992–2010. (Active leader: Bucs DT Ndamukong Suh, 164 games)
  • NBA: A.C. Green played in 1,192 straight games from 1986–2001. (Active leader: Suns F Mikal Bridges, 273 games)

What to watch: Coyotes winger Phil Kessel, 34, has played in 941 straight games. If Yandle does falter, his record may not last long.

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