Philadelphia Flyers' Keith Yandle taking near-record ironman streak one game at a time

VOORHEES, N.J. – Keith Yandle currently possesses the second-longest ironman streak in NHL history but the Philadelphia Flyers’ newly acquired defenseman says he still takes his career day-by-day.

It’s probably a healthy attitude to have because thinking too far ahead can take one’s eyes off the prize – which is a Stanley Cup, rather than worrying about missing a day of work.

Yandle has played in 922 consecutive games, second only to the 964 played by Doug Jarvis back in the 1970s and 1980s. Third is another retired player, Gary Unger (914), followed by unrestricted free agent Patrick Marleau (910) and another active player, Phil Kessel (900).

Although neither Flyers coach Alain Vigneault nor Yandle have made public any plans to keep the defenseman in the lineup regardless of the level of his play, it’s pretty safe to say it probably will take an injury to end the streak.

Defenseman Keith Yandle skates during training camp at the Flyers Training Center.
Defenseman Keith Yandle skates during training camp at the Flyers Training Center.

“I’m a day-by-day guy,’’ Yandle said during an interview at the Flyers Training Center. “Everything in my life and I am sure my wife hates that about me. I am a minute-by-minute, don’t like to plan anything, see how it goes guy.’’

Yandle was told that Rod Brind’Amour once played a Flyers-record 484 consecutive games, battling through a host of injuries as well as getting a little luck. Is that pretty much the way it’s gone with the 34-year-old Yandle?

“I would say a lot of luck,’’ Yandle said. “I think every guy once you get to this level has the same type of compete and will to play. You want to be out there every day with your teammates, and I think for me I have been fortunate. I love coming to the rink whether it is practice day or game day. You love being here with the guys. The training staff and stuff like that I have had have been great and it is the same here.’’

Of course, with any streak there are some close calls.

“The one that was probably the closest -- we actually played in Boston, then we played in Philly the next night,’’ Yandle recalled. “I took a puck off the heel and it was unbearable how painful it was. That night I remember being in my hotel room with two of the trainers working to just get it moving until two or three in the morning. I woke up and was able to move it a little bit. Once I got it in the boot, it was OK enough to go. Like I said earlier, thanks to the trainers.’’

Justin Braun, Yandle’s projected partner for the upcoming season, admires the accomplishment. It’s nearly 12 seasons of hockey without a game off.

“That’s unbelievable,’’ Braun said. “The fact that he hasn’t had to sit out any time yet is truly amazing. Bumps and bruises, broken bones and everything that comes along the way.’’

Yandle played for Vigneault when the two were together with the New York Rangers some six years ago. Having a coach in your corner, so to speak, should help alleviate any confusion or mixed emotions about the streak.

This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Flyers' Keith Yandle could break NHL ironman record this season