JVR roasts former teammate Phil Kessel when asked about his Ironman streak.
Chris Szagola/CSM/Zuma  

JVR roasts former teammate Phil Kessel when asked about his Ironman streak.

JVR fires a shot at his former Leafs teammate.

Jonathan Larivee

As crazy as it may sound it may only be a matter of time now before Arizona Coyotes veteran forward Phil Kessel is recognized as the greatest Ironman in the history of the National Hockey League.

Over the weekend the Philadelphia Flyers made the controversial decision to scratch veteran defenseman Keith Yandle, ending the longest running Ironman streak in the history of the NHL at 989 consecutive games. The decision from the Flyers has been the subject of some controversy but regardless of what you think of that decision, it has paved the way forward for Kessel to overtake Yandle.

Kessel's current streak of 969 consecutive games is actually the second longest in the history of the NHL but is now the longest active streak in the league. On Monday the Coyotes will face off against the St. Louis Blues and that will bring Kessel to 970 consecutive games played, just 19 games shy of catching Yandle's record setting streak and just 20 games shy of breaking that record.

When you add in the context that Kessel has never been considered at any point in his career to be the prototypical athlete, it makes his incredible run of endurance all that much more unbelievable. It seems that even some of those who know Kessel well are somewhat in disbelief, including former Toronto Maple Leafs teammate James van Riemsdyk. JVR, who is currently a teammate of Keith Yandle's, was asked about Kessel potentially setting a new NHL record and he responded by poking a little fun at his former teammate.

"I'm sure a lot of the strength and conditioning specialists are at a loss for words," said van Riemsdyk.

JVR added that Kessel was proof that there are intangible factors that you simply cannot measure that can contribute to success, and in this case he cited Kessel's love for the game of hockey as one that appears to often be underestimated.

Should Kessel return for another season following the end of his current deal, he will almost certainly surpass the record set by Keith.