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RJ Umberger: Coming Into Camp Lighter and Quicker

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After two slow starts, Umby decided to change things up this off-season.

Kirk Irwin

Much has been made about the slow starts for R.J. Umberger the past couple of seasons. The dead horse about his decision during the lockout NOT to play hockey has been beaten. Many fans wondered if Umberger might try to come into camp this year more ready to go.

As with every sports season, there has to be the cliched "he's in the best shape of his career!" piece written about one player or another, right?

Umberger noted this morning that he made some changes to his preparation for camp this summer, the biggest of which was to drop some weight. All throughout his remarks to the media, he touched on team speed, the need for quick players with the move to the Eastern Conference, and his own desire to be more quick. To that end, he said, he also dropped some weight while trying to maintain his strength.

"I did a lot more speed and explosive training [this summer]," Umberger said. "It was the most clean eating I've ever had this summer, and I dropped some weight. I dropped about seven or eight pounds. It wasn't an 'overweight' thing. It was just something I wanted to do personally. I'm still as strong as can be; all my strength numbers actually went up. Since I came into the league, I was always told to be a big guy, to be 220 or 220-plus. I'm going to try to play at 214 or 215. I'm still strong and not going to get moved around, but I might even feel better on the ice."

When asked if he felt faster, Umberger quipped, "I feel pretty good right now, so we'll see."

Here's hoping this move might help Umberger to have his quickness more from the get-go this season. We all know the player he's capable of being at his top-end.