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Coyotes' Hanzal feels 'better than ever'

by Staff

Arizona Coyotes center Martin Hanzal said Saturday he has completely recovered from back surgery and aims to play all 82 games this season.

"I feel great, better than ever," Hanzal said after the second day of training camp, according to the Coyotes website. "For sure I feel really good and really strong, and I'm glad to be on the ice with the boys and trying to enjoy the camp."

Hanzal has been plagued by a chronic back injury during his career and was limited to 37 games last season. With the Coyotes out of playoff contention in February, he and the team decided surgery was the best option.

Hanzal said he worked hard over the summer to strengthen his back and get ready for the 2015-16 season.

"I want to prove to the team that I'm worth it," Hanzal said.

Coach Dave Tippett said Hanzal appears to be ready to go.

"He's healthy and he's very fit," Tippett said. "He's come in [to camp] in great shape and obviously very determined and frustrated with the way his season went and the amount of games he played. He has his body in very good condition to make sure it doesn't happen to him again."

The 6-foot-6, 226-pound center had eight goals and 24 points last season after putting up 15 goals and a career-high 40 points in 2013-14. He's also known as a physical center who can play almost any role.

"I'm not going to change a thing," Hanzal said. "I'll be a physical guy and trying to play hard every game, especially against the tough guys. That's part of my job. If I ever get hurt again, that's part of my job. But I'm not going to change a single thing. I'll play even harder this year."

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