Rick Pitino calls Panthers' treatment of Yandle 'despicable'

Eliot J. Schechter / National Hockey League / Getty

Keith Yandle has an unexpected supporter amid his ongoing rift with the Florida Panthers.

Rick Pitino, the longtime college and NBA basketball coach who's currently the bench boss at Iona College, criticized the NHL club for its handling of the veteran defenseman.

Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville said Friday that it's unlikely Yandle will be in the lineup for Sunday's season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks, meaning the rearguard's streak of 866 consecutive games played would end.

The remarkable run, which dates back to 2009, is the NHL's longest active streak of its kind.

It's unclear exactly how Pitino and Yandle know each other. Yandle was born in Boston in September 1986, meaning he would have been 10 years old when Pitino took the Celtics job in May 1997 and 14 when Pitino resigned in January 2001.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Yandle had fallen out of favor with the Panthers, wasn't in their plans for this season, and would be made a healthy scratch at some point.

The 34-year-old notched 45 points over 69 games in 2019-20.

Yandle played the previous four campaigns with Florida after parts of two seasons with the New York Rangers and nine with the Arizona (and Phoenix) Coyotes to begin his career.

Rick Pitino calls Panthers' treatment of Yandle 'despicable'
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