VOORHEES, N.J. – After playing with recent powerhouse teams such as Boston and Washington, Garnet Hathaway would seem like the least likely candidate for a rebuilding team like the Flyers.
Then again, Hathaway may have already had his fill of cruise-control outfits like the Capitals and the Bruins.
For players such as Hathaway, there’s a certain satisfaction with helping an organization like the Flyers get back on its feet, or skates as it were.
Hathaway said as much during a Saturday press briefing at the Flyers Training Center.
“We’re trying to win as many games as possible,” Hathaway said as he refused to raise a white flag for this season. “What I really get excited about this organization is bringing the group together that’s focused on the process throughout the season.”
Like the signing of fellow free agent Marc Staal, the 31-year-old Hathaway was brought on board to help mentor some of the younger players.
“It’s a group of guys who know how much hard work it’s going to take to get there,” Hathaway said. “They’ve picked and chosen the guys they want to have in that group together, push each other to compete and to do the hard work to get there.
“I’ve learned a lot throughout my career. I’ve been lucky enough to play with a lot of unbelievable leaders and I’ve learned that it’s a process. You can’t play your best game on day one and then come two, three, 82. . .you can’t get worse. You have to continue to get better. Right now I think they (the Flyers) are helping guys develop.”
All this sounds like it’s right up Hathaway’s alley.
“You get a group that’s willing to do the hard work together,” Hathaway said. “Will it create the results? I hope so. I’m competitive, I want to win. What I’m really excited about is that group getting to that next step. Everyone in that room is going to have that mindset.”
Hathaway learned at the knee of two great leaders/captains – Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin and Boston’s Patrice Bergeron. So he knows something about how to impart wisdom.
“I’ve learned a lot,” he said. “And that’s something I’m still working on. I’m trying to learn how those guys do it so well, how they carry themselves so well on the ice and off the ice.”
>Poehling already in a good place
Ryan Poehling, late of the Penguins, came aboard perhaps to get a little bit bigger role in Philadelphia.
On Saturday he was skating at center on a fourth line with Hathaway and Nick Deslauriers.
“We’ve played well together so far,” Poehling said. “We’re still learning a few things out about one another. They bring a heavy game. I think that’s good for a group, to grind other teams down especially throughout a year. It gives (skill) guys more time to make plays.”
The Flyers can certainly use help on special teams so Poehling figures to get some extra time on the penalty kill.
“It’s hard to get to the NHL, it’s hard to stay in the NHL,” he said. “So for me, it’s learning what works. Last year I had a great year in Pittsburgh. I think a guy you can just rely on defensively and produce a little bit offensively is a big thing.
“The PK last year was huge for me. It keeps you in the lineup, it’s a big role. It’s so hard to score five on five. Just doing those things (penalty kill) helps me create a role for myself.”
Poehling said a John Tortorella camp is as demanding as any he’s been around.
“This one is definitely harder,” he said. “But it’s been good. It gets you ready for it (the season). We focus is on the little things and that’s what hockey is about. It’s good thing to learn before actual games start coming.”