The “NHL Sound Bites” column is your go-to for daily hockey stories with quotes from your favourite players and staff.
In this edition of NHL Sound Bites, a Philadelphia Flyers defenceman sets to new NHL record for most consecutive games played and the Buffalo Sabres’ No. 1 prospect might make his league debut this season.
Yandle Breaks NHL’s Ironman Streak With 965th Consecutive Game Played
Keith Yandle made NHL history on Tuesday, surpassing Seth Jarvis for most consecutive games played in the league. After tying Jarvis’ record in a 3-1 loss to the Dallas Stars the night prior, he played his 965th game in a row in a 4-3 loss to the New York Islanders. The 35-year-old defenceman’s streak spans his time with the Arizona Coyotes, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Flyers.
“It’s one of those things that I don’t think it’s really sunk in too much yet,” said Yandle. “It’s obviously something I’m super grateful for. I’m grateful to play one game in this league, the best league in the world. To be surrounded by the best people, people that always have your back, people that are rooting for you, to be a part of the NHL and the NHL family, and for me being [a part of it] the last 16 years, it’s more than a dream come true.”
Yandle’s ironman streak began as a member of the Coyotes on March 26, 2009. Without missing a single regular-season game in almost 13 years since then, he proves that he’ll do whatever it takes to help his team.
“That’s awesome. I don’t know what the percentages of guys who even play this many games, but in a row, it’s unbelievable,” said Flyers forward Gerry Mayhew. “Kudos to him. It [stinks] that we couldn’t win, but that’s a great achievement. Congratulations to him for sure.”
Even Jarvis, the previous record-holder, is excited about Yandle’s incredible achievement.
“I think this is awesome,” said Jarvis. “I wish every player had the ability to play this game and to play it injury-free…. It’s a credit to him and I’m happy he’s able to put a career together like this.”
Sabres’ Power Could Make NHL Debut After Olympics, NCAA Postseason
The Sabres’ No. 1 overall pick from the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Owen Power is set to represent Team Canada at the 2022 Winter Olympics in the midst of a fantastic sophomore season with the University of Michigan. The 19-year-old defenceman has 26 points (three goals, 23 assists) in 24 NCAA games this season. Once he wraps up his time at the Olympics and postseason run with Michigan, there is a chance he could make his NHL debut this season.
“Owen’s extremely self-aware of his game, what he does well, what he wants to work on,” said Adams. “Whenever I go watch him play and I talk to him after a game, he immediately gives a breakdown of his games. ‘I liked what I did here, I think I need to do better there.’ It’s impressive at a young age to see that. And I think part of his mindset of going back [to the University of Michigan] for this year was to grow, and he’s attacked the season.”
Power became the first defenceman in Team Canada history to record a hat trick when he tallied three goals in his tournament debut at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship. The event was cut short due to COVID-19, but he finished with an impressive five points (three goals, two assists) in just two games. He is finding incredible success, both internationally and at the university level, and may be ready to step onto the NHL ice soon.
“I don’t want to get ahead of [him potentially playing in the NHL this season] because I think it’s important for him to stay present and stay in the moment of what he’s doing and what he’s focused on,” said Adams. “And I don’t want in any way to be a distraction from that. But, you know, he ultimately knows where he wants to be. We ultimately know where we want him to be, and we’ve had those conversations just to prepare. So, we’ll just let this play out… So, for me, it’s exciting.”
It’s only a matter of time before Power dons the Sabres’ royal blue and gold. He is expected to make a major impact on Buffalo’s rebuild and will help lead the future of the team, whenever he is ready.
“This player to me sums of the type of people we want on the Buffalo Sabres and in our locker room, people that get up every day and want to be better.”
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.
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.