On Tuesday, defenseman Keith Yandle announced his retirement from professional hockey while on the “Spittin’ Chiclets” podcast.
Yandle, 36, owns the NHL’s ironman streak with 989 consecutive games played. His ironman streak won’t stand for long, as Phil Kessel sits in second place with 982 consecutive games to his name. Nonetheless, what Yandle achieved is nothing short of amazing.
Yandle played sixteen seasons in the NHL, scoring 619 points (103G, 516A) in 1,109 games. He posted his best season in 2018-19 with the Florida Panthers, scoring 62 points (9G, 53A) in 82 games. His final season with the Philadelphia Flyers was anything but an ending on a high note.
In 79 games during 2021-22, Yandle scored 19 points (1G, 17A) and was a -47, which was the worst plus/minus rating in the NHL. His ironman streak ended on April 2, 2022, when he was a healthy scratch against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was the first time Yandle missed a game since 2009. The decision to bench Yandle was divisive, some didn’t believe it was the right decision.
Kevin Hayes, a close friend to Yandle, had this to say:
“I can’t say I agree with it, but the impact Keith has on myself and the guys in that locker room is something that can’t be measured. I know sometimes the media is all over him, but what he provides to some of these young guys on this team is something no one else can do.”Kevin Hayes; 4/2/2022
Yandle on ‘Chiclets
When Yandle broke the news of his retirement, he spoke highly of the Flyers’ locker room. He mentioned that it was one of the most fun locker rooms he was a part of, no offense to the other teams.
“We had a great time in the locker room. Towards the end of the season when we weren’t winning, it could’ve been a lot worse coming to the rink, but guys there like Laughts, TK, Sanny, [and] Nick Seeler; you’re just excited to see guys every day. We definitely had a blast. Obviously not the best outcome of the season, but it was a lot of fun.”Keith Yandle; 9/20/2022
The “fun” locker room that Yandle mentioned, didn’t correlate with the on-ice results that Philadelphia displayed during last season. Owning the fourth-worst record in the league is quite the opposite of fun. Mike Yeo’s tenure as interim head coach created more of a loose culture, and the players ran the show. John Tortorella will be prioritizing accountability during his time in charge.
Injuries ran rampant through Philadelphia all last season. Ryan Ellis, Sean Couturier, and Hayes missed significant time, which is a reason why Philadelphia performed so poorly. If substantial injuries didn’t occur during 2021-22, Philadelphia could’ve seen themselves in a better position at the end, one that was expected before the season began.
“You look at the team last year, Couts was out pretty much the whole year, Hayes was out pretty much the whole year, Ryan Ellis was out pretty much the whole year. If you lose three of your best players, and there’s even more guys that missed time too; you miss guys like that, your team is gonna suffer.”Keith Yandle; 9/20/2022
Tortorella has ‘major concerns’
With Tortorella, the locker room vibe will be a lot different come 2022-2023. He won’t be the “fun” coach, but he’s what Philadelphia needs behind the bench to right the ship.
He’s already given his views on what he thinks of the locker room as we all know.
“I have major concerns about the room, as far as, I’ve spent the summer going back and forth, I live in New York, I’ve been going back and forth to Philly trying to relocate there, but spent some time in the office talking to players, talking to personnel, talking to Chuck, and I have concerns about what goes on in there.”John Tortorella; 9/7/2022
Tortorella will be hard on his players from the get-go. However, he’ll also have the back of everyone. It’s already been evident when he responded to criticism about players that were brought in during the offseason, most notably Tony DeAngelo.
“I’m a little pissed off about some of the things said about a couple of the players and Tony DeAngelo, at least some of the things I’ve read. I haven’t read them all, I don’t spend my day trying to listen to everybody, what they’re talking about.”John Tortorella; 7/20/2022
(Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)