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Second Gear

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
BROSSARD – Fresh off his recent shoulder surgery, Lars Eller had to be patient, waiting for the right moment to start preparing for next season. Now that the moment has arrived, he’s pulling out all the stops.

“I’ve been back in Montreal for about three weeks now and all I’ve been doing is training non-stop,” proclaimed the young forward after an on ice practice session at the Bell Sports Complex in the company of Ryan White, Mathieu Darche and Alexei Yemelin.

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Despite closing his season out with a surgical procedure on his right shoulder, Eller appears to be back in top form, ready to turn the page to the next chapter of his career.

“The shoulder’s doing really well. I’m not having any problem with my movements, and there haven’t been any complications. Everything’s going according to plan,” explained the 22-year-old Dane, who’s currently doing everything in his power to start the 2011-12 season along with the rest of his teammates. “The first two months of summer I really wasn’t able to work out my upper body as much as I would have liked. But for the last month or so, I’ve had only a couple of small limitations to deal with.”

Evidently, Eller’s hard work has been paying off and it’s clear he’ll be heading into the upcoming campaign bigger and stronger than the previous year. He also took a moment to point out that his recent weight gain had nothing to do with over indulging in offseason snacking.

“I haven’t eaten a single danish all summer,” kidded Eller on the muscle-mass he’s packed on over the course of the offseason. “The really hard part is keeping myself at this weight for the entire regular season. We play so much and burn so much energy that it’s hard not to lose a few pounds at some point. It’s one thing to put the wieght on, it’s another thing to keep it there.”

While his first full season in the NHL proved to be an invaluable learning experience for Eller, who was made use of in a number different roles, the young forward has a clear vision of what his goals will be in 2011-12.

“Last year, my goal was to establish myself in the NHL. Now I have to bring my game to the next level and contribute more points offensively. I still believe that that’s how I’m most effective even if I didn’t get the chance to showcase it as much as I would have liked,” explained Eller who finished the 2010-11 season with a tally of 17 points in 77 games. “I plan to build on that performance this year. I’m hoping to get handed some more responsibility and some more ice time. I have to take things one step at a time, but my goal is to improve every element of my game.”

According to Eller, the Habs will be working with all the necessary tools for success going into their latest season.

“It’s a great thing,” expressed Eller of all the familiar faces that will make up the team’s dressing room come fall. “There’s honestly not a lot I would have changed with our team from last year, and the arrival of Erik Cole is an amazing addition. He’s a big guy that can score a lot of goals. I’m sure he’s going to fit in perfectly in this lockeroom.”

Vincent Cauchy is a writer for Translated by Justin Fragapane.

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