NHL finds 43 more Hathaway ‘hidden hits’

Garnet Hathaway

PHILADELPHIA – Players usually claim they don’t study statistics sheets to see how they’re doing beyond the average goals/assists/penalty minutes.

Maybe so, but the Flyers’ Garnet Hathaway expressed honest surprise when NHL numbers experts “found” an additional 43 hits, giving him 166 for the season.

That bring him up to No. 1 on the Flyers with a healthy margin over Nick Deslauriers’ 144.

Coach John Tortorella chuckled a bit when reminded of this at the team’s morning skate at the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees, N.J.

“He’s always looking to finish checks and create some forechecking for us,” the coach said. “That’s how he goes, that’s why we wanted a guy who is going to go straight ahead.

“And he’s a guy who’s going into the (physical) areas of the ice. I think he’s done that.”

Hathaway, who signed on as a free agent this season after spending time with Washington and Boston last year, takes the stats change in stride.

“It’s interesting, that’s about all I can say about it,” Hathaway said. “I don’t think it (the hits’ stat) necessarily says how I’m playing. I try to create contact, whether it’s separating a guy from the puck, (or) try to make a guy make a play a little faster the next time he gets the puck.”

Somebody decided the Hathaway hit stats were a little off but 43?

“So it’s one of those things I looked at this year where there were some games where they weren’t accurate,” he said. “I talked to a few guys around the league who felt the same. I guess they went back and watched all the games all over again. Definitely is a lot of work but more accurate I guess.”

Hathaway has produced only four goals this season and Tortorella said he would like to see the player pick up his offense.

But if he keeps doing what he does so well, namely knock people around, the scoring thing won’t be a big issue.

>Cates gets praise

Noah Cates provided the game-winner in Tuesday night’s 2-1 win at Florida.

Tortorella acknowledged it’s been a difficult season for Cates. He suffered a broken foot and missed nearly two months. But he wasn’t all that productive before the injury, scoring just one goal before he went down.

“It’s been a difficult year for him,” Tortorella said. “He got a lot of ice time last year, then has a major injury this year. I believe he will come around because he’s that consistent.”

>Poehling versatile

Tortorella likes the way he can use Ryan Poehling wherever there’s a need. Poehling started the year centering a fourth line with Hathaway and Deslauriers but has been playing on other lines as his offense has picked up.

The Flyers knew what they were getting when they acquired Poehling before the season. Recently, they rewarded his strong play with a new two-year, $3.8-million contract extension.

“We did our homework on him,” Tortorella said. “I talked to a number of people who had coached him before. We knew he could kill penalties. The biggest thing for me is he could skate. That opened some doors for him.”

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About Wayne Fish 2338 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.