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After earning his keep with a terrific regular season, crash-and-bang Hathaway figures to play a key role in Flames' opening-round series

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

In his own particular 200x85-foot kitchen, the guy gets in more grills than Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay.

In sandpaper terms, most definitely a P12 Grit Designation, meaning Extra Coarse. Someone, be aware, who actually shares a name with a silicate abrasive (garnet, commonly used in woodworking).

He really ought to have a particularly-fractious bumper car at Calaway Park named in his honour.

All angles and edges, afters and anarchy.

"He has tendency," muses Flames GM Brad Treliving of the all-industry Garnet Hathaway, "to have the other team trying to gouge his eyes out and then leaving them wondering: 'Why is this all happening? What have I done?'

"That line has really been effective for us. Garnet, I don't believe, gets the credit he deserves. He's had a big role on our penalty kill. And he's a difficult guy to play against. When he's on top, in terms of the forecheck, he gets inside on people.

"And he's a strong, powerful guy."

Hathaway has has proven an ideal foil to the savvy professionalism of Derek Ryan and the youthful zest of Andrew Mangiapane.

"A young guy, come out of college, did it the hard way as a free agent," says coach Bill Peters. "Keeps getting better and better every year. What kept him in the lineup when it got a little dicey, when he could've come out, was his penalty-kill ability.

"Then all of a sudden that line gets a bit of momentum and we can't take him out."


Video: CGY@CAR: Ryan finds Hathaway for shorthanded tally


Over and above the infectious crash-bang he injects, Hathaway chipped in with 11 goals, 19 points and finished +18 to, as Peters mentioned, solidify a spot in what has become a deep, talented lineup.

"I think I've got a good regular-season to build off of," Hathaway reckons, the final countdown underway to his first-ever top-level post-season appearance.

"I've never been in a NHL playoff game, but I've certainly watched a few.

"What I want to do now is what I always want to do - help the team as much as possible.

"The atmosphere around here is amazing. We've got a city full of fans who are as pumped about this as we are. And that's something we have to manage.

"There are a lot of different excitement now and with a group that hasn't collectively played a lot of games in the playoffs, we have to grow together, be even keel, manage our emotions, both the highs and the lows."

Playoffs are traditionally the time in any season when the unsung are sung about; when 'that' type of player - meaning the in-your-face, give-no-quarter sort - are more noticeable on a broader canvas, discovered by a different audience.

The NHL history scrolls are chock full of 'em.

Can Hathaway be that sort of revelation this spring?

"He's going to have to be, given what he has to bring to our team," parries assistant coach Ryan Huska. "At this time of year, there's a greater acceptance of, a greater interest paid to, role players like Garnet.

"That's why maybe you see a name you're not expecting pop out of the woodwork.

"Hath kills penalties, does a really good job with that. And when you look at that line 5-on-5, he's the guy that creates the loose pucks by banging and crashing around.

"When he's at his best, he's dragging people into the game and getting opponents mad at him, often because he just plays so darned hard."


Video: DAL@CGY: Hathaway blisters slap shot past Khudobin


Growing up, Hathaway admired another player who enjoyed the heavy-going, Hall of Famer Peter Forsberg of the Avalanche.

"I really looked up to him. He was just so amazing offensively, but he was also tough as nails. So strong on the puck, used his body so well.

"I always enjoyed watching him.

"I'm No. 21, too. Played for a team called Top Gun when I was younger and we just looked like the Avalanche, '01, around that time. I was No. 21 there, too.

"A big fan of his.

"He was great all time the time. But especially come playoff time, it seemed."

"The harder it got, the better he played."

The harder it is suits Hathaway just fine, too. He's been operating this way, after all, since Oct. 3.

"They've all got come to his game, he doesn't have to go anywhere," agrees Treliving. "The style of the game's going to move towards him now.

"It's going to be close quarters, nothing gained unless it's taken, heavy and hard.

"That's sorta how he's built.

"He's all-in every shift. He plays every shift like it matters. And you don't have to tell Garnet what his strengths are. He isn't going to wake up one morning thinking: 'Gee, maybe I should step outside my identity as a player …'

"He understands his DNA on the ice. And that's important.

"He knows exactly what pays the bills.

"He's been important for us this entire season. And he certainly will continue to be during the playoffs."

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