Philadelphia Flyers end Keith Yanddle’s NHL-record Iron Man streak

Keith Yandle will be a healthy scratch for the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday night, ending his NHL-record 989-game consecutive streak.

Yandle, 35, broke the Iron Man record earlier this season, overtaking Doug Jarvis on Jan. 25 by playing in his 965th straight regular-season game with the New York Islanders. The defenseman’s streak began in his third NHL season on March 26, 2009.

Arizona Coyotes forward Phil Kessel will now have the longest active Iron Man streak at 968 straight games, the second-longest in NHL history.

Flyers interim coach Mike Yeo said it was an “organizational decision” to keep Yandle out of the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. The Flyers are 21-35-11 in the season, 31 points from an Eastern Conference playoff berth.

“If you make a decision like that, it’s an organizational decision. She is being met in the best interest of what is right for the Philadelphia Flyers going forward,” Yeo said.

Yandle has struggled this season. He has one goal and 15 assists in 67 games and played for a 39-down while skating an average of 14 minutes and 20 seconds per game, which is his lowest average ice time since his rookie season with the then-Phoenix Coyotes in 2007-08. But Yandle stayed in the lineup to break the NHL Iron Man record, then stayed there for 24 games.

Now, just 11 appearances short of 1,000 consecutive games played, Yandle will be a healthy scratch.

Yeo said Yandle handled the news “extremely well,” though he was disappointed with the decision.

“He received it exactly as you would expect from Keith Yandle. Obviously disappointed in what you would expect from a competitor,” Yeo said. “My only hope is that he realizes how great it is what he’s done. It’s disappointing for him, no question. That in no way diminishes what he has achieved. It’s remarkable.”

Rookie defenseman Ronnie Attard is expected to slip into Yandle’s place in the third pairing as the Western Michigan University product is set to make its NHL debut. Yeo cited the chance to give young players Ice Age as the main reason Yandle’s streak ended.

“We’ve come to a point in the season where it’s important as an organization that we bring some young players into the team. We have to look to the future,” he said.

Yeo said it’s possible for Yandle to return to the lineup after a scratch.

Yandle is an unrestricted free agent after this season. Philadelphia Flyers end Keith Yanddle’s NHL-record Iron Man streak

Joel McCord

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