PHT Time Machine: When Doug Jarvis became the NHL’s ironman

doug jarvis nhl ironman
Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images

We like to take an occasional look back at some significant moments in NHL history. This is the PHT Time Machine. Today we look back to when Doug Jarvis set the NHL’s ironman record when he appeared in his 915th consecutive regular-season game. He ended up playing in 964 consecutive games. On Tuesday night, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle is set to break that record.

Doug Jarvis would have been an easy player to miss during his NHL career, especially given the era in which he played.

The late 1970s and 1980s were mostly defined by high scoring games, brawls, fights, and sometimes all three.

But over the course of Jarvis’ 13-year career he scored 20 goals exactly one time. He also never had more than 36 penalty minutes in a season, only three times topped even 30, and rarely found himself in a fight.

He was an anomaly for the era.

The one thing he did do, though, was go 12 consecutive seasons to begin his career without ever missing a game, setting the NHL record for consecutive games played at 964, a mark that stood for more than 35 years until Keith Yandle breaks it on Tuesday night against the New York Islanders.

[Related: Yandle not taking NHL life for granted as ironman record nears]

Prior to Jarvis, the consecutive games played record belonged to Garry Unger who had played in 914 consecutive games between 1968 and 1979. On December 26, 1986, as a member of the Hartford Whalers (and against the Montreal Canadiens, the team he broke into the NHL with) Jarvis set the new mark in his 915th game. It was a mark that, at the time, received relatively little fanfare, especially after spending most of his career on a Montreal team that set goal records and was winning Stanley Cups on a yearly basis.

What was so noteworthy about Jarvis’ mark at the time is that he accomplished it while literally never missing a game in the NHL. He made his debut as a 20-year-old rookie at the start of the 1975-76 season, and then played in every single regular season game between 1975 and the end of his streak early in the 1987-88 season. But while he was not known for goal scoring, or overly physical play, or fighting, he was still a key cog in the Canadiens’ 1970s dynasty as part of their shutdown line alongside Bob Gainey and Jim Roberts.

Ken Dryden wrote about that line in his book, “The Game” (Via this 1986 New York Times article):

”Playing one minute in every three, on a team that scored more than 380 goals, they scored 33, but playing the first shift of every game, often the last shift of a period and the last minute of every game when the score was close, playing the Clarke, Sittler, Perreault, Dionne, Esposito and Trottier lines, the league’s best lines, they allowed even fewer. It seemed inconceivable to us.”

Jarvis had two top-10 finishes in Selke Trophy voting during his time with the Canadiens, and then ultimately won the award in 1983-84 after he was traded to the Washington Capitals in a blockbuster deal alongside Rod Langway.

Close calls during the streak

You do not play more than a decade in the NHL without having some close calls when it comes to missing games, and while Jarvis did miss four Stanley Cup Final games in the 1970s due to injuries, those games fall under a different distinction than the regular season record.

In the aforementioned Times article Jarvis mentioned two games that almost ended his streak. An ankle issue almost kept him out of a game in the 1980s, but it was not the streak that pushed him to play — it was the chance to matchup against Wayne Gretzky that night, a challenge that Jarvis did not want to miss.

[Related: Remembering Andy Hebenton, hockey’s original ironman]

Another incident — in what was a sign of the times — came as a member of the Capitals when he spent the night in a hospital after taking a big hit and was allowed to play the next night. That almost certainly would not have happened in today’s game (which is a good thing).

The end of the streak

Jarvis’ streak came to an end early in the 1987-88 season when he was a member of the Hartford Whalers, and it was not an injury or anything else that forced him out of the lineup.

It was simply a coach’s decision.

Whalers coach Jack Evans said that Jarvis’ play had tailed off at the end of the 1986-87 season because he had overplayed him, and that it was agreed that Jarvis would not play in every game the following season, especially as the team wanted to play Brent Peterson in a more expanded role.

After appearing in the Whalers’ first two games that year Evans made the decision to sit Jarvis on October 11 against the Boston Bruins. It was the second half of a back-to-back, and the Whalers’ third game in four nights. Jarvis never played in another NHL game after that.

He was sent down to the American Hockey League shortly after where he appeared in 24 games with the Binghamton Whalers before retiring from pro hockey.

During his career he appeared in 964 regular season games (never missing a regular season game from the start of his career to the end), scored 139 goals, 403 total points, won four Stanley Cups, the Masterton Trophy (1986-87), and a Selke Trophy (1983-84).

Yandle is finally set to pass Jarvis’ record on Tuesday night.

Barring injury, Arizona Coyotes forward Phil Kessel will also move ahead of Jarvis later this season if he is able to maintain his streak.

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    Flyers trade Pride-night boycott defenseman Provorov in 3-team deal

    flyers trade
    Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports

    PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Flyers have traded Ivan Provorov, sending away the defenseman who boycotted the team’s Pride night as part of a three-team trade that included the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Los Angeles Kings.

    The seventh overall pick of the 2015 draft, the 26-year-old Provorov lands in Columbus and is set to enter the fifth season of a $40.5 million, six-year contract. He was the centerpiece Tuesday of the first major move under new Flyers’ leadership.

    There were plenty of moving parts in the three-team deal.

    — Philadelphia traded Provorov and forward Hayden Hodgson to Los Angeles in exchange for goalie Cal Petersen, defenseman Sean Walker, defenseman Helge Grans and the Kings’ 2024 second-round pick. The Kings lost in the first round of the playoffs.

    — Columbus acquired defenseman Kevin Connauton from Philadelphia in exchange for a 2023 first-round pick (22nd overall) and a conditional second-round pick in either the 2024 or 2025 NHL Draft. Columbus acquired Provorov from Los Angeles in exchange for Connauton.

    The Flyers already hold the No. 7 pick in this season’s draft and now also have the 23rd pick as they start accumulating key assets for long-range success in what is expected to be a deep draft.

    Flyers general manager Danny Briere had said no player was untouchable after the Flyers missed the playoffs for the third straight season and went to work with the Stanley Cup Final still underway. The Flyers named broadcaster Keith Jones team president last month and he is still working the Final for TNT. But it’s clear the overdue rebuild is underway for a franchise that hasn’t won a Stanley Cup in 48 years.

    “We felt that the picks and the direction that we wanted to go in, it was really enticing, very exciting,” Briere said. “We have a chance to really start building the team the way we wanted. The right way.”

    Briere said the Flyers are “open for business” this summer and that included potentially listening to offers for No. 1 goalie Carter Hart. Coach John Tortorella, Briere and Jones have all tempered offseason expectations for any fan looking for a quick fix. The trio all insist the Flyers have a cohesive plan for the future.

    Provorov had 65 goals and 217 points in 532 career games with the Flyers. The Russian was widely criticized in January when he cited his Russian Orthodox religion as the reason he did not participate in pregame warmups when the Flyers wore Pride-themed jerseys and used sticks wrapped in rainbow Pride tape.

    “I respect everybody’s choices,” Provorov said after the game. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.”

    Now, he’s traded during Pride month.

    Briere said the backlash over Pride night had nothing to do with trading Provorov.

    The Blue Jackets, who missed the playoffs this season, were ready to take a flier on a defenseman seemingly with many productive years ahead.

    “Improving our blue line has been a priority for us and acquiring Ivan gives us an established left-shot defenseman who is still a young player with his best seasons in front of him,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “He immediately improves our group on defense as he is durable, has great skill, skates well, is an excellent passer with an accurate shot and can effectively play at both ends of the ice.”

    Provorov said at the end of the season he wasn’t necessarily happy the Flyers planned to rebuild but understood the decision. Briere declined to say if Provorov wanted out of Philadelphia.

    “I wouldn’t say it’s the most positive news you can hear, but there’s a bright future here, and there’s a lot of great players that can keep growing,” Provorov said in April. “Obviously, it depends on how quick everybody gets better and how quickly the team game gets better. I think that’s what determines the length of the rebuild.”

    Turns out, the potential success out of the haul the Flyers got for Provorov just may determine the length of the rebuild.

    Golden Knights take 2-0 lead in Stanley Cup Final with 7-2 win over Panthers

    Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

    LAS VEGAS — No team in over 25 years has been more dominant than the Vegas Golden Knights through the first two games of a Stanley Cup Final.

    They have outscored the Florida Panthers by eight goals, including a 7-2 victory in Game 2 that put the Knights two wins from the first championship in the franchise’s short six-year history.

    It will take a rare rally for the Panthers to come back as the series shifts to Florida for Game 3 on Thursday. Teams that took a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final are 31-3 in the expansion era, but the Panthers opened the playoffs by storming back from 3-1 down to beat the heavily favored Boston Bruins.

    Florida will have to significantly up its level of play to beat a Vegas team that won by three goals on Saturday and then five in this game. The last team to win the first two games of a Cup Final by more than eight combined goals was the 1996 Colorado Avalanche – who outscored the Panthers by nine.

    “I think our depth has been a strength all year,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “It is the biggest reason we are still here, why we beat Winnipeg, Edmonton, Dallas. I just feel that we have the best team from player one through 20.”

    Jonathan Marchessault scored twice for the Knights and started an early blitz that chased Sergei Bobrovsky, the NHL’s hottest postseason goalie.

    Marchessault also had an assist to finish with three points. His 12 postseason goals set a Golden Knights record, with all of them coming after the first round. The only player with more following the opening round was Pavel Bure, who scored 13 for Vancouver in 1994.

    “They want to set the tone with being undisciplined like Game 1 and we set the tone back,” Marchessault said. “It was scoring that first goal there. But we’re still pretty far from our goal here.”

    Brett Howden scored twice for the Knights, who also got goals from Alec Martinez, Nicolas Roy and Michael Amadio. Six players had at least two points for Vegas, all 18 Knights skaters were on the ice for even-strength goals and their nine goal scorers through the first two games are a Stanley Cup Final record. The Knights’ seven goals tied a franchise mark for a playoff game.

    It was too much for Bobrovsky, who was removed 7:10 into the second period down 4-0. It was the fifth time in 12 games the Knights have chased the opposing goalie.

    Bobrovsky, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, carried Florida through the Eastern Conference playoffs. Coming into the Stanley Cup Final, he had won 11 of his past 12 starts with a 1.95 goals-against average and .942 save percentage during that stretch. But he’s given up eight goals in 87 minutes against Vegas, compiling a 5.52 GAA and .826 save percentage in the series.

    “We can be a little better in front of our goaltender,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “I got him out to keep him rested.”

    Matthew Tkachuk and Anton Lundell scored for Florida.

    Adin Hill continued his stellar play in net with 29 saves for the Knights. Hill once again brought his feistiness as well as his A-game. He stopped Carter Verhaeghe on a breakaway in the first, and later that period hit Tkachuk, who was in his net, with his blocker and then slashed him with his stick.

    “He’s been unreal for us,” Vegas forward William Carrier said. “He’s been unbelievable.”

    A group of four fans behind one of the nets wore sweaters that spelled out his last name, and Hill has often received the loudest cheers from Knights fans, reminiscent of when Marc-Andre Fleury was in goal for Vegas in its first three seasons.

    “It’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had playing hockey,” Hill said. “I’m just enjoying it, cherishing every day. It’s been awesome to be part of the journey with this team.”

    The Knights were dominant early, taking a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals from Marchessault and Martinez. It was Vegas’ third game in a row with a power-play goal, its first such stretch since Christmas week.

    The Panthers lost their biggest, toughest defenseman early in the game when Radko Gudas was injured on a hit by Vegas forward Ivan Barbashev. Gudas left 6:39 in and did not return.

    That was one of several big hits by Barbashev, the Golden Knights’ biggest trade-deadline acquisition, a Stanley Cup champion with St. Louis in 2019. Barbashev broke the sternum of Colorado defenseman Samuel Girard during the playoffs last year, also on a clean hit.

    Vegas had its own scare late in the second period when Jack Eichel was nailed in the right shoulder by Tkachuk. Eichel returned in the third and set up Marchessault’s second goal for his second assist of the game.

    “We did a good job managing momentum tonight,” Eichel said. “And we got some timely goals.”

    Ducks hire former Leafs, Islanders assistant Greg Cronin as head coach

    Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

    ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Anaheim Ducks have hired veteran NHL assistant and AHL head coach Greg Cronin to be their new head coach.

    Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek announced the decision to hire the 60-year-old Cronin, who will be a first-time NHL head coach.

    Cronin has 12 years of experience as an NHL assistant with the Toronto Maple Leafs and in two stints with the New York Islanders. The Massachusetts native has been the head coach of the AHL’s Colorado Eagles since 2018, and he spent six years as a collegiate head coach at Northeastern.

    Verbeek called Cronin “the ideal fit” to take over a young, rebuilding team.

    “I felt we needed a teacher of the finer points of the game, and someone who has worked extensively over time with talented young players, helping them develop into successful NHL players,” Verbeek said. “Greg has done all that and more.”

    Cronin replaces Dallas Eakins, whose contract wasn’t renewed in April after the Ducks finished their fourth consecutive losing season of his tenure. Anaheim finished in last place in the overall NHL standings at 23-47-12.

    The Ducks never finished higher than sixth in the Pacific Division during Eakins’ four years in charge. They’ve missed the playoffs in a franchise-record five straight seasons, and Anaheim was the NHL’s worst defensive team of the 21st century by several measures during the just-completed season.

    Cronin takes over a struggling team that is still loaded with young talent, including the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft and a wealth of farm prospects seemingly ready to break into the NHL. Anaheim has a solid long-term base with playmaking center Trevor Zegras, two-time All-Star Troy Terry and promising forward Mason McTavish.

    Cronin has never led an NHL bench, but he interviewed for the Boston Bruins’ vacancy a year ago.

    He becomes only the Ducks’ fourth permanent head coach since Henry and Susan Samueli bought the franchise from Disney in 2005, joining Randy Carlyle, Bruce Boudreau and Eakins.

    Canadiens sign Cole Caufield to 8-year, $62.8 million extension

    David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

    MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens signed Cole Caufield to an eight-year, $62.8 million contract extension.

    The deal, which will pay the 22-year-old winger an average annual salary of $7.85 million, runs through the 2030-31 season.

    Caufield scored 26 goals and added 10 assists in 46 games in 2022-23 before he underwent season-ending surgery on his right shoulder in February.

    Despite missing nearly half the season, Caufield led the Canadiens in goals for the second consecutive season, tied with Nick Suzuki.

    Montreal selected Caufield in the first round (15th overall) of the 2019 draft.

    Since making his NHL debut in 2020-21, the forward has 84 points (53 goals, 31 assists) in 123 NHL games.