Keith Yandle is out of action Tuesday and it will mark the first time in more than seven and a half years that he’s missed a game. At 577 games, Yandle has the 10th-longest ironman streak of all-time.
The last time Keith Yandle missed a game, teammate and defense partner Aaron Ekblad had just turned 13, the second season of smash-hit TV series Breaking Bad had just begun and now-outgoing President of the United States Barack Obama was only months into his first term.
So, yeah, it’s been a while since Yandle has been out of the lineup. His impressive ironman streak is coming to an end, though.
During Monday’s game against the Boston Bruins, Yandle suffered a lower-body injury that will keep him out of action for “a while,” coach Tom Rowe said post-game, according to the Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov. When exactly Yandle suffered the injury hasn’t been reported, though there was one blocked shot in the 4:51 of ice time than the rearguard skated that looked as if it could be the culprit.
With the Panthers attacking the Bruins’ zone early in the first period, Yandle played the puck across the zone and it was worked back to his ‘D’ partner Aaron Ekblad. Yandle cut through the middle of the ice on his route back the blueline and ended up in Ekblad’s shooting lane as the puck was fired on goal. The puck bounced off of Yandle’s foot and he left the ice shortly thereafter:
Until there’s confirmation, however, there’s no knowing whether this was the incident that caused Yandle to leave the game or not. He only took a few shifts following the block, but nothing of substance and had headed back to the dressing room by the midway point of the frame.
Yandle’s loss is a significant one for the Panthers. He’s the taking the second-most minutes of any player on the team, behind only Ekblad, and the offensive impact Yandle has had from the back end has been noticeable. He has one goal and 12 points through 26 games, which it tops among Panthers defensemen, and only Aleksander Barkov’s 12 assists rank ahead of Yandle’s 11.
The loss of the ironman streak makes it just that much more disappointing, though. At 577 consecutive games in the lineup, Yandle had the 10th longest ironman streak in league history, and only one player, Anaheim Ducks winger Andrew Cogliano, was currently holding on to a longer run of games.
Yandle’s streak started when he was a member of the then-Phoenix Coyotes, remained through to his 100-plus game stint as a New York Ranger and carried through to his time in Florida.
It’s almost unsurprising that the streak has come to an end with the Panthers, though, because Florida has repeatedly had important lineup regulars fall injured this season.
Jonathan Marchessault, the Panthers’ leading scorer, missed Monday’s game due to injury and is day-to-day, Alex Petrovic is on injured reserve with an ankle injury and Jonathan Huberdeau remains sidelined after suffering a lacerated Achilles ahead of the campaign. None of this is to include the injuries that also sidelined Nick Bjugstad and Jussi Jokinen earlier this season.
UPDATE: Turns out the streak will continue, after all. According to Fialkov, not only is Yandle in the Panthers’ lineup tonight, but he’ll be starting the game.
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