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Keith Yandle’s Iron Man Streak Comes to An End at 989 Games

Flyers defenceman Keith Yandle will be a healthy scratch for Saturday’s game and his record-setting ironman streak ends at 989 games.

Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Keith Yandle will be a healthy scratch for Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs and that decision brings an end to his record-setting ironman streak at 989 games. He falls just 11 games shy of 1000 consecutive NHL games. It’s a move that is being questioned by many, but Yandle is taking it like a pro.

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Saying he was told the decision was made to give young guys an opportunity to get some NHL games under their belt as the team plays less-meaningful games to end the season, Yandle was disappointed but is reflecting on what he accomplished and understands the Flyers’ decision from a business perspective. He’ll do what he can to stay positive and support the young guys, all the while working hard to improve his game and get back into the lineup. He’s not upset, saying he spoke with his wife, brother and parents to reflect on the amazing run. He noted, “Obviously, something I take a lot of pride in. I’m fortunate to play one game in this league … I owe pretty much my whole life to this league.”

“We have to have an eye on the future,” said head coach Mike Yeo. Yeo acknowledged that it was a tough decision but Yandle took as you would expect, as a total pro.

Why Make This Decision Now?

This one is a head-scratcher. The idea that developing young players is important has merit, but playing a couple of young defensemen in the final games of a meaningless season won’t, all of a sudden, make the Flyers a playoff team next season. They have a lot of work to do over the summer to get to where they want to be as an organization.

The Flyers could have let Yandle run out his games as a member of the team and simply not signed him next season, making the streak someone else’s issue. If Yandle retired or didn’t get signed, then the Flyers don’t look like the bad guys here.

The counter-argument to this is that maybe they wanted to be the ones to bring this streak to an end to remove the need to make tough decisions, including potentially bringing Yandle back next season. A number of teams wouldn’t be interested in the defenseman knowing that they’d feel pressure to play him, even if they felt his play didn’t warrant it.

Yandle Should Be Celebrated For Quite the Accomplishment

There are a number of people taking to social media on Saturday and using the news Keith Yandle’s ironman streak is ending as a reason to bash him and say he’s played terrible hockey of late. Their argument is that he should have been scratched a long time ago and only played as often as he did because of the streak. Frankly, it’s hard to understand the need to be so negative.

Yandle accomplished something incredible. He should be celebrated, not criticized. It’s incredibly difficult to do what Yandle has done and few people will ever come close. Phil Kessel has a legitimate shot to break that record. His iron man streak sits at 968 games.

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