NHL Sound Bites: Canucks’ Emergency Backup & Flyers’ Yandle Milestone

The “NHL Sound Bites” column is your go-to for daily hockey stories with quotes from your favourite players and staff.

In this edition, the Vancouver Canucks have the NHL’s latest emergency backup goalie story, and the Philadelphia Flyers have a player making history on Monday.

University of British Columbia’s Toth Serves as Canucks’ Emergency Backup Goalie

The Canucks are going through some goaltending troubles, with Thatcher Demko, Jaroslav Halak, Spencer Martin and Arturs Silovs on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list. On Sunday, the team faced off against the St. Louis Blues with Michael DiPietro in net for his second NHL start and third game. Although Vancouver dropped the contest, 3-1, it had a very interesting story to tell on the bench. Rylan Toth, a goaltender at the University of British Columbia (UBC), served as the emergency backup to DiPietro after signing an amateur tryout agreement before the game.

“Just approach it like another game, I guess. I feel like maybe it has not fully sunk in yet,” said Toth on his pre-game preparations. “It’s hard not to think of it as being different. But at the same time, it’s just another hockey game, and I trust my ability, and if they need me, I’ll do my best to be ready and give them a chance to win. And if not, I’ll just kind of try and enjoy the experience from the bench. It’s a cool opportunity for sure.”

Toth was not called upon, but the experience will surely leave him with memories for a lifetime and maybe even some motivation for the future. In his fourth season with UBC, the 25-year-old has a .935 save percentage (SV%) and a 10-2-1 record. He hopes to play professional hockey after graduating.

“It’s funny because you got the EBUGs who are 40-year-old accountants or Zamboni drivers, and then there’s guys like me,” said Toth. “I am basically done at UBC in a couple months, and my plan was at the end of this year to try and find an ECHL team to play for, and then for next year, I was looking to play maybe in North America or even looking at options in Europe.”

Toth is originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and grew up cheering for the Anaheim Ducks, but the Canucks might be his new No. 1.

“Growing up, I was actually an Anaheim Ducks fan, funny enough,” said Toth. “I couldn’t really tell you why, but as long as I can remember, being a little kid, I was a Ducks fan. But there’s definitely guys I looked up to on the Canucks, like Roberto Luongo is a big one, and I met [Jacob] Markstrom one time I practiced with the Canucks, and he was such a nice, friendly guy. But after living here for almost five years now, I’ve definitely started to become more of a Canucks fan, so it’s pretty cool.”

Yandle to Play 964th Consecutive NHL Game on Monday

Flyers defenceman Keith Yandle will make NHL history on Monday when he suits up against the Dallas Stars in Philadelphia. He will tie the all-time record held by Doug Jarvis with 964 consecutive games played. His ironman streak spans his time with the Arizona Coyotes, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Flyers.

Keith Yandle, Philadelphia Flyers
Keith Yandle, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“It’s a love for the game and having fun,” said Yandle. “At the end of the day, we’re playing a game that we all dreamt of playing growing up.”

Since he began his ironman streak as a member of the Coyotes on March 26, 2009, he’s had many teammates en route to this historic accomplishment. Among them, Flyers forward Kevin Kayes played with Yandle twice, first on the Rangers in 2014-15, and now he’s his roommate in Philadelphia.

“He’s one of my favourite teammates that I’ve ever played with,” said Hayes. “He’s a grounded human who understands what hard work is, and he’s just a consistent human on and off the ice. You know exactly what you’re going to get from him.”

Related: NHL Sound Bites: Flyers Drop 11th Straight & Oilers End 7-Game Skid

Yandle is a model player who does whatever it takes to help his team. That will be solidified in the NHL history books when the puck drops at Wells Fargo Center on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

“It’s kind of the way hockey players are built,” said Yandle. “You kind of try to play through as much pain as you can. Especially during the season, I don’t think there’s many guys that feel 100 percent. There’s been some times obviously that have not felt great, and it was tough sledding. It’s one of those things that you just try to battle through it and try to help out your team.”

Thank you for reading this edition of NHL Sound Bites, and make sure to listen to THW Podcast every weekday (Monday to Friday) to hear everything your favourite hockey writers have to say about the hottest topics around the league.


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