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Pre-season of utmost importance for Hathaway

After getting a taste of the NHL last year, Garnet Hathaway knows he must impress in the pre-season to be in Calgary on Oct. 12

by Torie Peterson @ToriePeterson /

WINNIPEG, MB -- Garnet Hathaway doesn't ease himself into anything.

The 24-year-old Kennebunkport, ME product regularly operates on a high-octane, pedal-to-the-metal level that would leave most people breathless. There is no testing the waters. There is no getting acclimatized to situations. It's full-throttle, right from the get-go.

He showed that when he stepped into the lineup late last season and didn't tip-toe around any opponent. He threw himself into every shift, even getting under the skin of San Jose Sharks defenceman Brent Burns and pushing the hulking rearguard to drop the gloves to the delight of the 19,000+ at the Scotiabank Saddledome that evening.

And the 2016 pre-season? He is approaching it no differently than anything else he tackles.

"I have to show them I can be here for a whole 82-game season. I have to win a job right now," he asserted. "I'm ready for that. And that's what I have to show management and the coaches. I have to show that day-in and day-out, I can be here and I'm bringing everything I can to pre-season games and training camp."

With a handful of NHL games under his belt -- 14, to be exact -- Hathaway isn't as well-versed in the day-to-day rhythm of the NHL as he would someday like to be but that cup of coffee last season was an eye-opener.

When he made the jump from the NCAA to the American Hockey League after wrapping up his collegiate career with Brown University a couple of years ago, there was an immediate learning curve. Professional hockey is vastly different from that of ECAC Hockey.

The transition to the National Hockey League? An even greater chasm.

"Getting some games last year was unbelievable and I had to work really hard for that but coming into camp, it's a battle," Hathaway noted. "There's a lot of internal competition. I've got to be ready every day and show them I can play in this league on a nightly basis.

"The one main thing for me is being consistent. Playing 14 games, getting a taste of that, you really learn what it's like in this league. You always have to be ready. Being ready to go for an 82-game season is the most important thing."

The first step towards came on Monday night when Hathaway was in the lineup against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. He had 10:17 of ice time, two minor penalties, a fight, and three hits in the 4-2 loss in Edmonton.

"We're learning new systems and I think I can do better than I played," was his assessment of his performance in Edmonton.

"It's nice to get some hits, get used to the physical contact. We haven't had a scrimmage in camp so it's nice to get that five-on-five mentality back in. But I'm ready to improve and I know I can. I'm ready to get back to work."

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