Fresh off an extraordinary season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Keith Yandle was only 20 years old when he made his National Hockey League debut with the Phoenix Coyotes in October 2006.
Never mind the fact that Yandle (Milton, Mass.) was across the country in Arizona, thousands of miles away from his hometown playing for the Coyotes. It was less than two years since he had starred at Cushing Academy and decided not to play college hockey.
Undoubtedly, the kid from the East Coast who was a self-described “wild card” needed a mentor — somebody who could help ease his transition into the big leagues on and off the ice. One of his new teammates, fellow defenseman and eight-year veteran Derek Morris, helped fill that role.
The two joined this week’s session of New England Hockey Journal’s The Rink Shrinks podcast to discuss their intertwined NHL paths with co-hosts Brian Yandle and Mike Mottau.