Q: Prior to 2006-07, you lost 30 pounds to be better suited for the new style of play in the NHL. How has your workout this off-season compared to last?
A: This summer, Doug (McKenney) let me go loose a little bit and lift a lot more weights. I think I'll come in probably around the same weight, but I'll have more muscle mass, and hopefully, will lose a little more fat weight.Q: Having appeared in a career-high 54 games last season, what is your goal heading into training camp?
A: Nothing. I'm not really one for setting goals. I just want to go out and play. As far as coming into camp, I just want to be in shape. For me that's not really a goal. It's more mandatory than anything else. I would like to be anywhere under 230 and nine percent body fat. Q: Because of your size, do you have to work harder to reach a certain size more so than a smaller player?
A: It was a struggle last year because I had to learn how to do it. Once you buy into the system, as far as diet and jumping on the bike to burn a few extra calories, all that stuff is just a bonus. The battle is learning how to lose weight. Believing in what you're doing is going to make you lose weight is the hardest part. That was the toughest thing for me last year. The transition this year has been a lot easier.Q: Do you think people understand that hockey players really do work year round?
A: I don't know. A lot of people think it's great because we have our summers off. But it's important for people to know that during the summer we are working just as hard, if not harder, than during the season. We're just trying to prepare ourselves.
It's a competition once you come to training camp. Everyone wants to be in the best shape and everyone wants to be the best player on the ice. That's what makes it hard in the summer time, knowing that you've got to come into camp in the best shape possible.
We work probably 11 months out of the year. We get about a month off to do whatever we want and relax. But as far as the rest of the time, it's all business.Q: Having played two seasons under the new rules, do you think players have gotten accustomed to the new NHL?
A: I think there are still a few things out there that we need to adjust to, but for the most part everyone has figured it out and understand it.Q: Has your role changed since the lockout?
A: No. I know what my role is and I know what I'm here for. It may have changed a little bit in terms of conditioning. Pre-lockout, guys could get away with being 240 or 250 pounds. That was with the red line. With no red line, the game is a lot faster. In my role, you'll find guys weighing less to get quicker.
Fighters are definitely working more on their skill than their fighting. Everyone knows if you can fight or not, but the real question is if you can play the game and keep up. That's most important now. You have to be able to contribute. Not just on the scoreboard, but just to be on the ice without become a liability.Q: Do you think fighting will always be a part of hockey?
A: It doesn't look like it's leaving for the next few years with all the [fighters] signing two and three year deals.
If it does, it won't be for a while.
But I think it will always be a part of the game. The fans would be disappointed because it's definitely something that they love. It's been part of the game forever. If you take that out then you get rid of some grit. People love to see the hard-hitting grittiness. Q: Who do you think will be the team's captain(s) this season?
A: I don't know. That's a really tough question. Personally, with the leadership we have in the locker room, there isn't doesn't deserve a letter on his sweater. I'm not trying to be politically correct. I'm being totally honest. I think that everybody on our team deserves a letter because everyone leads in a different way. With the leadership we have in the locker room, you can't pinpoint just one guy and say he's the captain.