Monday night in the Flames 2-1 loss to the Sharks, it was Flames rookie Garnet Hathaway, who made Burns stand up and take notice.
Brent Burns on Garnet Hathaway: "What did he draw, five penalties tonight? He plays hard. Those are guys that you want on your team."— Darren Haynes (@DarrenWHaynes) March 8, 2016
Burns, the 12-year veteran of 780 NHL games, was introduced to the energetic Flames right winger in the second period during a fierce one-on-battle near the Sharks net that resulted in the defenceman raking his stick across Hathaway's face, bloodying up his nose.
Leaking a little blood wasn't about to stop Hathaway from settling up with the giant 6-foot-5, 230-pound wookie known as Chewbacca.
In the ensuing scrum, he pulled Burns out of the pile and the two dropped the gloves for Hathaway's first NHL fight. Blood on the face, some prolonged and intense grappling, a few punches thrown too. The heated exchange would have been a welcome addition to the undercard of UFC 196 on Saturday.
"A rebound came, he got his stick up a little bit. Got me in the nose. Once the whistle blew, he kept going. That's just hockey," said Hathaway, who has racked up 23 penalty minutes in his eight days in the NHL.
Eight Action-Packed Minutes
Playing on a line with Mikael Backlund and Micheal Ferland, Hathaway had two shots on goal. In the first period he sprung Ferland in alone via a perfect pass from the sideboards. He also delivered two more hits to give him 21 in five games. Oh, and he drew a wheelbarrow full of penalties.
- His hustle forced Joe Thornton into an interference penalty 5:39 into the first.
- His determined forecheck led to Brenden Dillon's tripping penalty at 15:03 of the first.
- More dogged puck pursuit resulted in a lid-removing high-sticking penalty by Paul Martin 3:58 into the second.
- Lastly came the Burns double-minor for high-sticking at 8:03 of the second.
Emerging as a Fan Favourite
"He's stepped in and been awesome," said Joe Colborne. "Even in training camp we all were very impressed by his work ethic. He's a hard-nosed player and we give him a lot of credit for standing up for himself there and going against Burnzie, who is a big dude and strong."
Not Your Stereotypical Ivy Leaguer
Thanks to Hollywood, stereotypes that come to mind when you think of an Ivy League college student are quiet, studious, argyle vests and if into sports, it's probably the rowing club.
Yeah, not so much for the graduate of Brown University in Rhode Island.
A rugged 6-foot-2 and 208 pounds, Hathaway is full of piss 'n vinegar on the ice. He zips up and down his wing like a bull in a china shop. His game isn't complicated, but it's been damn effective.
When Hathaway was the Stockton forward summoned last week after the trading away of Jiri Hudler and David Jones left the Flames with just 11 forwards, some fans raised their eyebrows.
Why this guy? Why bring up a plugger, who was ninth on Stockton in scoring? What not Freddie Hamilton or Kenny Agostino?
He hasn't wasted anytime demonstrating why the AHL coaching staff was so fond of him and why Calgary made him the first of their four CBA-restricted post-trade deadline recalls.
"He's everything a coach would like to have in the line-up, said Heat coach Ryan Huska earlier in the season." He works his very best every day, he puts his body on the line every day and he can be a guy that can be used in a lot of different ways whether that's playing a top-six role or a bottom-six role."
Hard Work is in his DNA
Last July at Flames development camp when I had an enjoyable chat with the personable native of Kennebunkport, Maine, for this feature, he talked about the work ethic that was instilled in him as a kid.
"I don't want to say entrepreneurs are the hardest working people but for me, growing up as a child, my Dad was working the whole time," said Hathaway. "He was always around and involved in the family but his work ethic was something I always strive to compare myself too, even still still today as he runs his own lobster processing business. The guy gets up before the sun is up every day and he's back home after the sun goes down."
In college, he studied Business Entrepreneurship and E-Commerce and in a now famous story, he got some real life education when he started up his own lobster roll cart business.
"Since I was young, I grew up in an atmosphere where my parents always stressed how important work ethic is. Work hard, be nice to your friends and remember that your family always loves you. That's something I heard every single day. Hard work is rewarded, it definitely is."
It's been rewarded alright in the form of an NHL paycheque for what will surely be the final six weeks of the season, and in the form of praise from one of the league's elite players.
Not a bad first week, kid.
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Recent Flames Reading:
- One Down, Three to Go: How the Flames Should Use their Four AHL Call-Upss - Garnet Hathaway was used with call-up No. 1. With three more to go, I put on my GM hat and examine who else should be summoned from Stockton. (March 5, 2016)
- Fantasy Island: Treliving on Why Trades are More Difficult Than You Think - Brad Treliving recently spent some time with me explaining the nuances and many challenges involved in consummating an NHL trade in this day and age. (February 27, 2016)
- Goaltending 5-Year Plan - Part 2: Review of Potential Candidates - Divided into five categories – UFAs, demoted vets, emerging back-ups, ready AHLers and wild cards, a detailed breakdown of the top candidates to play goal for the Flames next year. (February 22, 2016)
- Goaltending 5-Year Plan - Part 1: Taking Stock of What They Need - A look at what the Flames have in the system today and what the voids are when you project the NHL, AHL and ECHL goaltending over the next five seaons. (February 20, 2016)