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Kylington shows maturity, leadership after unlucky mistake in Flames loss

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Calgary Flames Oliver Kylington

Everyone makes mistakes. For Calgary Flames defenceman Oliver Kylington, an unfortunate one on also showed what a huge step he has taken as a professional.

The maturity Kylington showed in meeting with the media afterward, and on the ice in the moment, speak volumes about his accountability.

After scoring the team’s only goal on a highlight-reel play, Kylington’s fanned clearing attempt in his own zone immediately led to the tying goal. The Flames lost 2-1 in overtime when Auston Matthews beat goaltender Dan Vladar cleanly.

“I’m pissed off right now. I think you guys understand why,” Kylington told media members in Toronto. “I just tried to flip it out of the zone. It was an unlucky play. I fanned on it. There’s not much you can do about it now but if I could change something …”

He couldn’t change it. But he owned it. Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter has said throughout training camp and early in the season that he’s trying to get rid of the big mistakes that the 24-year-old defenceman was guilty of during his development. A bad pinch. The wrong choice.

A misfire doesn’t fall into that category.

Defenceman accountable for error but was impressive aside from one flub

“I don’t think it’s a big mistake,” Sutter shrugged when his previous comments were mentioned.

And still, there was a level of accountability that needed to follow the unfortunate play.

“We talk about turnovers all the time. A lot of turnovers are under pressure, forced ones. They call it a turnover but it’s a battle. When it’s unforced, a guy’s got to take responsibility for it.”

Kylington did that immediately. He apologized to Vladar on the ice.

“I just told him he was having a heck of a game and I told him I was sorry,” Kylington said of the exchange during a TV time out. “He said, ‘Don’t say you’re sorry, you just scored for us.’

“I just want us to win. I thought (Vladar) was playing unbelievable for us. He was saving us on a lot of chances. I just wanted him to hear that from me.”

There’s no doubt he heard encouraging words from teammates. Not only did he score an incredible goal, but he was one of the team’s most impressive defensive players, using his speed to get his stick or body in front of pucks and players. All that against one of the team’s most potent offences.

And most importantly – especially under Sutter – Kylington is motivated by only one thing.

Winning.

“It was a nice goal, but at the end we didn’t win. For me, winning is the most important thing,” said Kylington. “I don’t care if I score or get points. I just want to win games and we didn’t do it today.”

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