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He’s a different Oliver: Kylington’s Flames milestone worth celebrating, step toward dream (+)

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Calgary Flames Oliver Kylington

Calgary Flames defenceman Oliver Kylington’s milestone 100th NHL game probably felt either like it was a long time coming or like it might never come at all.

The 24-year-old’s draft was six years ago. Some quick math tells you it hasn’t been an especially easy path. He spent the better part of three months with the Flames in 2018-19 and almost all of the pandemic-halted 2019-20 campaign as well.

Then came the most (un)forgettable year the NHL has ever experienced – The COVID campaign. Playing through the coronavirus threat on a shortened 56-game schedule, teams had taxi squads usually reserved for playoffs at the ready in case of outbreak. But it was essentially hockey limbo for these players. And Kylington was among them.

Where in normal seasons, players would move up and down from the minors to the NHL and somewhat regularly see game action in one league or the other, the COVID campaign was different. The taxi squad was kept separate from all others to ensure their health. No games were played unless they were called to fill in for their NHL club.

Another member of that ghost squad, goaltender Louie Domingue basically described it as Hell on Earth for a hockey player while talking with Pittsburgh Hockey Now in training camp.

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