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Roberts: Sundin was workout warrior

by Dan Rosen

TORONTO -- Joe Sakic was known for his wrist shot. Pavel Bure made headlines with his speed and hands. Adam Oates' passing ability set him apart.

But what was it that pushed Mats Sundin into the Hall of Fame?

Gary Roberts, Sundin's teammate in Toronto from 2000-04, believes it was the power that the Swedish star got out of his 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame.

"I think it's the ability to skate with the puck and get to the net with two or three guys climbing on him," Roberts said. "I remember many nights he'd just say to me, 'Robs, meet me at the net.' I knew eventually he'd get there with two or three guys on his back. He was just a workhorse. The more he played the better he played.

"He wanted to be the guy to make the difference every night and he did that on many nights."

Roberts, now a fitness guru who trains some of the best young players in the NHL, vividly recalls Sundin's workout habits.

"You're talking about a guy that rode the bike every day before games," Roberts said. "He'd get on the bike for 20 minutes and ride it as hard as anybody I've ever seen ride before a game. I remember riding beside him one day and I almost had a heart attack. He's one of those guys that once he warmed up that big engine he could go forever."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl

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