Phil Kessel ranked third among current NHL ironmen

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Phil Kessel /

Pittsburgh Penguins RW Phil Kessel is now ranked third among active players in consecutive games played.

Being an ironman in any sense is no easy feat. Robert Downey Jr. barely held it together for three mediocre movies.

Being an ironman in the NHL is an extremely difficult and rare accomplishment. Duck’s center Andrew Cogliano  knows this first hand, and is currently fourth all time when it comes to consecutive games played. He hadn’t missed a game in his career prior to earning a two game suspension for a hit on Adrian Kempe of the Kings. An 830 game streak  was snapped in an instant.

While it’s a  bad look for Cogliano and a scary incident for Kempe, the hockey world keeps on turning. Here’s  a snapshot of the longest streaks in NHL history.

Via Wikipedia (yeah Wikipedia, it’s kind of accurate, don’t worry about it)

We’re Going Streaking!

Phil Kessel now is now third among active players with 656 consecutive games played (not to mention 10th all time). Keith Yandle and Patrick Marleau are the only two active players ahead of him. Given the circumstances, I’d say #81 has a decent shot to outlast them both. Yandle is a d-man who gobbles a ton of minutes a night, so it’s definitely harder for him to keep up his pace. Marleau is

like 90 years old

38 years old, and his career is winding down. His streak could end if he decides to hang up the skates.

Playing this many games in a row would be a feat for anyone, but Phil’s made it look easy. The last time he missed a game was in 2010. (Y’know, back when the NHL sent pros to the Olympics. The good old days….we digress.)

A lot of people will say Phil’s playing style attributes to his streak. “Phil’s body doesn’t undergo the rigorous strain a more physical player endures” they’ll say.

And they’re correct.

Nice Guy, Tries Hard, Loves the Game

Through 46 games this season, Phil has racked up a gentleman’s 8 hits. Willing to bet those 8 were by accident, too. To put it in perspective, Josh Archibald registered more hits as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. And he played three games.

But this isn’t a fault! On the contrary, it’s a good thing. Phil understands his role. He knows exactly what he paid for. He scores goals and yells at Evgeni Malkin. His style of play preserves his body, and allows him to consistently suit up for every team he’s played for.

We don’t want to take anything away from him. This is a guy who gets diagnosed with testicular cancer, then proceeds to only missed 11 games. He was a flashy American forward in the hockey capital of world when he played for Toronto. With a bullseye on his back, he still only missed 12 games in his six seasons with the Leafs.

Next: Penguins Returning to Form

He’s faced his trials and tribulations like any player, but he continues to find a way to play. If he finished out this season (knock on wood), Phil’s total will jump to 692, placing him ahead of Henrik Sedin.

Good on you, Phil. Here’s to 656 more.