The cool thing about recording your first NHL hat trick is not just the reaction you get on the ice, but what hits you in the hours following it.
Last night at Honda Center, Kyle Palmieri had a natural hat trick (becoming the second-youngest Duck to score three goals in a game) in a 5-1 victory over the Nashville Predators. And for the rest of the night (while he enjoyed a postgame dinner with teammate Nick Bonino that Bonino paid for) and into the morning, his phone buzzed with well-wishes from friends and family.
Today, just after getting done joining the rest of his teammates for a practice/skills competition in front of 13,000 screaming kids attending the First Flight Field Trip at Honda Center, Palmieri got plenty more attention when he returned to the relative quiet of the Ducks locker room. A number of reporters and cameramen wanted to get their time with the 22-year-old Palmieri and hear his thoughts on his first-time feat (he's a fan of the word "awesome"). Finally when the room had mostly cleared out, he was able to sit down at his locker and watch each of the three goals (for the first time since scoring them, he claims).
We gave him an iPad with his three goals queued up, and asked him to describe each one. Q: Before we get to the goals, what was the reaction like last night after the game?Palmieri:
It was a lot of love and support. Being from the east coast, a couple people might have been sleeping while the game was going, but this morning and last night I got plenty of texts and plenty of calls. It was definitely fun for me, and my family was watching back east, so I know they enjoyed it. Have you watched the goals yet?
Actually, I’ve been having trouble with the internet in my house, and it’s really bad right now. You can’t even get a web page to open up, so this is the first time I’ve seen these. Let’s start with the first one:
It was kind of a set breakout there. We got a little space to skate, Pears and me. Getzy made a nice pass up to Corey and he found me skating my hardest down the wall there. I was able to keep it out of the reach of Weber and kind of wanted to get it back to my forehand and get a shot off. I was able to time it right. Weber is a great defensemen, definitely one of the best in the league, but I had a bit of a step on him there, and I was able to cut to the net. And the second:
This was just a faceoff play. My responsibility on those plays is to get to the net and cause a little chaos. There was a little confusion on Nashville’s part. Getzy made a nice pass to Perry, and Perry found me all alone. I guess that was a recurring theme last night: Getzlaf to Perry to me. He found me by myself there, so it was awesome. And the third:
The power play has been juggled up the last couple of days, just trying to find the right combinations. We had some set plays, but really we just wanted to get pucks on net, and we were able to do that. As soon as I see the puck go down to Perry, I know that he’s either taking it to the net or he’s going to try and throw it back door. He made a phenomenal pass right under the stick of Hannan there, and I was basically all alone with an empty net. Can you remember what Perry said during the celebration?
It’s so loud and everything is happening to fast that you really can’t. He came over and gave me a hug, and I just told him what a great pass that was. It was a pretty cool experience. Cameras caught you on the bench at the end of the game with Teemu patting you on the head and saying something. I know you’ve been in this game a little while, but what would 15-year-old Kyle Palmieri think of that moment?
[Laughs.] Yeah, it was awesome. It brings me back to my first NHL goal [in 2010], when Teemu took me aside and congratulated me individually. It was awesome. You watch him play growing up and see the number and the records he’s put up, and how exciting it was watching him play hockey. You never actually think that someday you could be playing with him. Obviously I’ve had the opportunity to play with him for a couple of years now, and it’s an incredible experience. What did he say you on the bench?
He just congratulated me and I think he might have said, “Welcome to the club.”