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Kevin Hayes disagrees with Flyers’ decision to bench Keith Yandle

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Kevin Hayes, Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes wasn’t happy with management’s decision to bench Keith Yandle on Saturday and halt his streak of consecutive games.

Yandle, 35, was a healthy scratch for Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Toronto at the Wells Fargo Center; he had played in 989 straight games, an NHL record, since 2009.

After the loss, Hayes said he understood why management made its decision, but disagreed with it.

“Decisions need to be made every day. Us players don’t make those decisions,” Hayes said. “It’s truly on us, the reason he probably had to sit out a game. I can’t say I agree with it.”

Hayes lives with Yandle, and they have been close friends for many years.

“The impact that Keith has on myself and the guys in that locker room is something that can’t be measured,” Hayes said. “I mean, I know sometimes the media is all over him, but what he provides to some of the young guys on this team is something that no one else can do.

“I know he’s one of my best friends, but the way he goes through everyday life is truly professional,” Hayes added. “He’s a role model for a lot of people. I think if you asked every person in that room what they think about Keith, you’re going to get all positive feedback.”

‘Last guy to leave’

At a voluntary morning skate Saturday, Yandle was there and was “the last guy to leave,” Hayes pointed out. “He’s truly a professional. He’s helped this team a lot this year. Guys have learned a lot from him.”

On the flip side, Yandle has been mostly ineffective this season, collecting 15 points (one goal, 14 assists) and a league-worst minus-39 rating.

Hayes was asked if he wanted to see Yandle’s streak get to 1,000.

“Yeah, I mean, you guys might write something that makes me look like an idiot for saying that. Decisions need to be made by organizations. They made a decision and we have to roll with it. It’s a business, like he (Yandle) said this morning. It’s part of the business.”

The Philadelphia Flyers are experimenting a lot in the season’s final month because they are buried in the standings.

“We put ourselves in this situation, having the year we’ve had, and not battling for a playoff spot,” Hayes said. “We need young guys out of college to come in to see what they can do.”

Yandle was benched in favor of Nick Seeler, 28, who played his spot on the left side of the third pairing, next to Ronnie Attard, a righthander who made his NHL debut after starring at Western Michigan.

Seeler was injured early in the third period. and there’s a chance Yandle replaces him in the lineup Sunday night in New York against the Rangers.

Hayes was also injured in the third period and had an ice pack on his right ankle after the game. But he said he would play against the Rangers, his former team.

Since returning from a groin injury, Hayes has 14 points in 14 games.

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