Rangers’ Chris Kreider is getting better with age

“There was all the tattered nets he went through in their driveway and all the lost coins in the woods,” Hathaway recalls. “He is an odd athlete. We went through summer training, strength training and then he wanted to play basketball and he would dance and try to beat his sister in a game. Then we go in and play some board game and he wins that game too. “

Hathaway, who made it to the NHL despite not being drafted, says that since Kreider’s arrival in Andover, he has shown a dedication to the job – even when there are no coaches around – that he called, “contagious”.

One evening, after an Andover session, Hathaway, Kreider, and another teammate were heading to Kreider’s gym in the pouring rain to get some extra work done, until they noticed a flat tire. Hathaway thinks the gym session will be abandoned. Kreider never entertains with this thought. He insists they fix tires in the rain, and then they go to the gym.

“I consider myself lucky to be around him to get that competitive boost,” Hathaway said. “It has helped me get better. If you’re surrounded by smart, hardworking, and friendly people, that’s the best you can do.”

Later, at Boston College, Kreider remained one of the best skaters on the national championship team. But it was there, he said, that the first coaches began to take him to goal and instruct him in the art of goalkeeping screening, flips and turns, and precise position prediction. When he joined Rangers, he said, that process was incremental and as his professional career unfolded, he continued to change from lightning to grit, from Pavel Bure to Phil Esposito.

Placed 19th overall in 2009, Kreider enjoyed an impressive Rangers career, even if he never scored again. His 211 goals rank 12th on the Rangers career list, where he and Brian Leetch are the only Americans in the top 20. With 625 games played, Kreider is 23rd on that team list and so far. Friday, he’s 9th in plus/minus with a plus -82 for over 10 years. Rangers’ Chris Kreider is getting better with age

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