Vegas Golden Knights forward Phil Kessel, who began his career as a member of the Boston Bruins, is the NHL’s new “Iron Man.”
Kessel broke the NHL record for consecutive games played when he hit the ice for the Golden Knights in their matchup with the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night, skating in his 990th consecutive game stretching back to Nov. 3, 2009, when he was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Kessel’s record breaks that of former NHL defenseman Keith Yandle, who set the record last season before seeing his streak end on March 29, 2022.
“It’s a cool thing, obviously. It means I played a lot of games, right?” Kessel said before Monday night’s game, in which he tied Yandle’s record. “I don’t know. I just try to play no matter what. I’ve been fortunate over the years.”
Kessel has made it obvious he was gunning for the record, playing in on a 30-second shift against the Detroit Red Wings last season to keep his streak alive before hopping on a charter flight arranged by the Arizona Coyotes for the birth of his daughter. He returned to the team two days later to continue the streak.
Kessel began his career with the Bruins, skating in 222 games for Boston between 2006 and 2009. He was then traded to the Maple Leafs, playing in Toronto for six seasons before moving on to win two Stanley Cups in four seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 35-year-old spent each of the last three seasons with the Coyotes, in which he was the constant focus of trade rumors, before arriving in Las Vegas to play for the Golden Knights in 2022.
The next closest player to Kessel’s 990 consecutive games played is Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brent Burns, who has played in 685 consecutive games.