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Asham Ready to Start Where He Left Off

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

Most people don’t like to see summer months wind down and the warm weather grow cooler.

Arron Asham is not one of them.

“My summer has been long,” he admitted. “It’s been longer than I wanted.”

Asham, who was arguably the Penguins’ best player during the 2011 playoffs with his team-leading three goals and physical, impassioned play, is ready to start the new season the way he ended the last one.

After a three-week sojourn to his native Manitoba to begin the offseason, Asham has since spent most of his days in Pittsburgh.

Asham, who served as the guest instructor at the Penguins' Summer Youth Hockey School presented by CRONS on Tuesday, is currently skating at the Penguins’ practice facility at the Iceoplex at Southpointe with about 10 others, including Eric Tangradi and Joe Vitale (with Craig Adams and Pascal Dupuis set to join them shortly).

“Gradually we’re getting all of the guys back into town,” Asham said. “It’s a fun time of year. We’re on the ice pretty much every day during the week. I’m getting my legs under me. Hopefully I’ll come in the season and start off where I left off in the playoffs, healthy and playing some good hockey.”

Asham has built a reputation for himself in the league as being a gritty, feisty player who thrives on the physical aspect of the game. So this summer, he decided to focus less on strength training and more on building cardio in order to make himself a better all-around player.

He’s added more Stairmaster workouts, running and sprints to his training regimen to add more speed to his game.

“This year I’ve just basically been working on my cardio,” he said. “I want to be leaner and faster and quicker. I think that I’m strong enough; I’ve been around a long time. I’m hoping to be a little quicker out there.”

Asham is grateful that he and the Penguins were able to agree to terms on a one-year contract on July 1, as he loves the area and the people, and is eager to get started.

“I’m comfortable with the guys, I’m comfortable with the systems now,” he said. “Hopefully I’m not going to need any transition time to start playing well. I’m just going to jump right into it.”

And while Asham may have had a blast on his weeklong vacation to Aruba after the 2010-11 campaign ended, there was something missing that he hopes he’ll take with him next year.

“Hopefully next year I’m going to go there as a champion.”
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