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Fowler's offseason conditioning paying off

by Brian Hedger / NHL.com
DETROIT – He’s just 19 and is still listed at 6-foot-1, 196-pounds, but Anaheim Ducks second-year defenseman Cam Fowler says he’s bigger than listed and it’s paying off in terms of his improved defense this season.

The puck-moving, speedy Fowler also said his weight gain was the result of a hard off-season training program. He said he came into Anaheim’s camp weighing around 208 pounds this fall, but has since dropped about five to play at 203.

So far, it’s working out well.

“Battling in the corners and pushing off of guys is where I really notice is the most,” said Fowler, who has five assists and in 13 games. “The main thing is that I didn’t want it to slow me down at all, and it hasn’t. That’s a big part of my game. It’s just been a little added strength, which I needed.”

Fowler, an offensive-minded defenseman, had 10 goals and 30 assists as an 18-year old rookie last season. He also had an ugly minus-25 rating, which he targeted for improvement by bettering his defensive skills. It seems to be working, as he’s currently a minus-2 heading into Saturday night’s game against the Detroit Red Wings – the team located just across the Detroit River from his hometown of Windsor, Ont.

“It’s just kind of picking your spots out there (to be more offensive),” Fowler said. “A lot of it depends on who you’re matched up with and what line you’re playing against. Some lines you really have to pay attention, because there’s guys that can really hurt you. We played against (Alex Ovechkin) and (Marian Gaborik) and those guys are always on the offense. If you’re getting caught up ice in the play, it really puts you behind the eight ball. You need to know when to jump up in the rush and when to hang back.”
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