Phil Kessel might have to drop his Ironman brand, but still wants to play in the National Hockey League.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported this week that Kessel has let teams know he’s interested in keeping his career going — even if it means being an opening-night scratch to end his record consecutive games streak.
Kessel is at 1,064 regular-season appearances — a run unaffected by being a frequent playoff scratch of the Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights last spring. He passed the retired Keith Yandle’s mark of 989 early in the 2022-23 season.
Turning 36 in a month, Kessel is apparently not interested in retiring, having put up 36 points in 82 games with the Knights. He has won the Cup a total of three times, twice with Pittsburgh, one of his five teams he has played for including the Maple Leafs.
There are a few weeks for Kessel to sign somewhere or he could be among the NHL veterans that clubs have begun to add for professional contract tryouts at training camp.
Should Kessel’s streak come to an end, Brent Burns of Carolina would become the new active Ironman with his run of 761 straight games.
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