He had three goals Wednesday, a flashy finish to February, a month that began with his 22nd birthday and ended with teammate Nick Bonino picking up the celebratory dinner tab, postgame.
Yes, a career-first hat trick can bring some financial benefits, Kyle Palmieri standing tall against Nashville then sitting flat on his wallet.
But the winger, still a veteran of only 46 NHL games, doesn't have to unleash his imagination to put himself back in the minors. All he needs is his memory.
It was only last season that the Ducks' 2009 first-round draft choice was – in his words – "on the little carousel" between the NHL and AHL, leagues separated by much more than just a letter.
"You could wake up in a five-star hotel in Dallas or Detroit and, the next morning, be on a flight to Binghamton or Springfield or somewhere in central New York where there's 4 feet of snow and you're taking a sleeper bus home for nine, 10 hours after the game," Palmieri recalled. "It's tough."
The NHL has plenty of players like Cam Fowler, the Ducks' defenseman who one day arrived in the league and never left.
But the NHL is loaded with players like Palmieri, players who arrived and immediately began the maddening process of trying to find stable footing in a game played on the slickest surface in sports.
The occasion of Palmieri's individually historic game seemed like a good time to remember exactly how much time, how much sweat, how much heartbreak can be required before a player experiences a night like he did Wednesday.
"It's emotional," Palmieri said. "You get called up and you're at the peak. Then, getting sent down, is the low point. I'm not going to lie to you. It (stinks) to get sent down, to keep shuttling back and forth. When you get these opportunities, you have to do your best with them."
Already this season, Patrick Maroon, Peter Holland and Emerson Etem have pingponged between Anaheim and Norfolk, which we're certain is a dandy town, but no kid straps on his skates the first time and thinks:
One day, I want to play ice hockey in the second-largest city in Virginia, the birthplace of actor Tim Reid, Mr. Venus Flytrap himself!
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