Earlier today the Calgary Flames assigned forward Garnet Hathaway to the Stockton Heat after spending the better portion of four months with the big club.
Hathaway played in 26 games for the Flames, scoring his first NHL goal back on November 20 in Detroit and adding 4 assists. He registered his first multi-point game in the NHL on December 4 against the Anaheim Ducks and even found himself in a memorable tilt against Max Domi of the Arizona Coyotes that made the rounds in the hockey media.
With the Heat trying to gain traction after stumbling to seventh, Hathaway could be the spark that the Heat need to get back into the swing of things.
“Garnet will open the game up for the guys he’s playing with because they know exactly what he’s going to do,” Head Coach Ryan Huska said. “He’s going to go to the net hard, he’s going to be first on the forecheck; he makes people around him better because he forces you to play with the pace he’s always on. He’s an energy guy all the time, and that’s what we expect from him tomorrow night.”
Hathaway only featured in 8 games for the Heat this season scoring 3 goals and adding 3 assists, but his motor, work ethic, and leadership are such strong qualities that his impact isn’t always largely seen in the form of production, but rather by pulling his teammates into the game along with him.
“There’s no question as to what he’s going to bring to the table because we know how hard he’s going to work and what he brings to the table,” Coach Huska said, “so I think having a fresh face like him and Brett [Kulak] in our room is an important thing, giving our guys some extra life, and we’re really looking forward to getting him back in our lineup.”
However, Huska believes his impact won’t just be seen on the ice, but also in the dressing room where Hathaway will once again see an “A” stitched to the front of his sweater. It couldn’t be a more critical time as well with Heat captain Mike Angelidis on the shelf for about a month according to Coach Huska, who lists him week-to-week with an upper body injury.
While the leadership group of Matt Frattin, Tyler Wotherspoon, Keith Aulie and the countless others who speak up or lead by example in the Heat dressing room are plentiful, it may not be a bad thing to have a new voice, one who’s made the most of his opportunity at every level, to try and rally the troops to victory.
The first task for Hathaway and company will be Wednesday night as the team hosts the Texas Stars for just the second time this season, to kick off a three games in five night stretch. Historically, the Heat have faired well against Texas, going 5-1-1-0 all-time against their Lone Star State rival. While the Heat’s struggles have been well documented, the Stars too have struggled having won just four of their last 10 games and having dropped their last two to the Chicago Wolves and the San Jose Barracuda.
Could the favorable history for the Heat help get Stockton the win and get their confidence back? For Coach Huska, every game presents an opportunity to start anew.
“Every game is a game that can get us out of this stretch, that’s the way we have to look at it,” Coach Huska said. “You can’t focus on what’s happened behind you, but look forward and take your lumps along the way, but whoever your next opponent is, you must have a great deal of excitement for that next game, and this one’s Texas. I think we have to be energized and ready to go and play a certain style where we are smart with what we’re doing and look forward to sixty-minutes of work.”
Coach Huska will look to a resurgent offense, who struck six times last weekend including four in one period on Friday night, along with the fresh face of Garnet Hathaway to finally get over the hump and get the Heat back on track.