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Parsons ready for second shot at first game

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers /

CALGARY, AB -- A bug derailed Tyler Parsons' first attempt. It won't get the better of him in his second.

Illness kept the goaltender from suiting up with the Calgary Flames earlier in the week, but Parsons will get another go against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday (7:00 PM MT; SN1, SN960).

"It happens," said Parsons, who is expected to come on for starter Brian Elliott in a planned third-period relief appearance. 

"There's nothing you can do about it. Things happened. Everything happens for a reason.

"I'm getting a game tonight. I'm happy about that."

Parsons was initially expected to draw relief duty in Calgary's 2-1 split-squad loss to the Edmonton Oilers at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday. Instead, Mason McDonald got the nod when Parsons was kept out after coming down with something. 

The London Knights goaltender is good to go, now. 

"I'm not sure what it was," he said. "It was some kind of bug. I was out for about two days and finally feeling better the past two days. I got on the ice the second day after I got over it. I just got on the ice with the goalie coach and had a full team practice yesterday and felt good today.

"I'm ready to go."

A week riding shotgun with Calgary's pair of veteran tenders will do that.

Parsons started camp with Chad Johnson, who at 30 has 101 career NHL games under his belt through five organizations. The No. 54 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft more recently has been shuttled over to join Elliott, who has logged 323 career games, when Calgary slimmed their roster.  

"Being a third goalie in practice, you can watch Elliott and Johnson," Parsons said. "You can tell they're so experienced in the league. Sometimes they make those hard saves look easy. I think it's the best thing for me, watching those guys playing in practice.

"Sometimes when we're doing goalie drills they'll give me some tips and stuff. You kind of just watch them. As a goalie being at this level you know things and you pickup on things they do. It's great overall watching them practice."

Parsons' slotting is not by accident.

"All the week we've tried to pair the goalies with some of our veteran goalies so they get to see it," Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. (Goaltending coach Jordan Sigalet) has a good handle on our goaltending. He'll talk to him about nerves and settling down and all that. For me as a coach for a young guy like that, a junior player, is to come in and have fun with it and enjoy it. 

"It's a special thing."

So too has been Parsons' experience.

He remains one of five goaltenders in camp, alongside Elliott, Johnson, David Rittich and Jon Gillies. McDonald, to Stockton of the American Hockey League, and Nick Schneider, to Medicine Hat of the Western Hockey League, were reassigned Wednesday.

The fact he's still around doesn't escape the 19-year-old Parsons.

Neither does the significance of getting into game action.   

"Coming in I didn't really know anything," Parsons said. "I talked to a few guys that had been at camp before and they said to just work hard and battle. You can only do what you can do. Go make an impression. I came in and it's awesome here. I love it. I've been battling and competing. 

"The biggest thing is competing. I feel I definitely made an impression. I'm still here today. It's been great. It's been an awesome experience.

"It just comes down to me competing and making a good first impression. These guys watched me during the season. They ended up drafting me. Coming into pro camp this is the longest spurt of time they've been able to watch me play. I think it's just working hard and competing. 

"I'm trying to stay here as long as possible."

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