Penner toning up

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

Dustin Penner doesn't have a six pack under his shirt, but he doesn't have one under his arm, either.

After cutting back on sweets and "wheat-based drinks," last summer, the big winger isn't quite as big as he used to be.

"I've only talked to him briefly," said head coach Pat Quinn.

"But he seems committed to becoming a better player for himself."

He's not ready for the pole vault just yet, but Penner says he's determined to put a little more effort into his daily regimen.

"For whatever reason, it kind of hit me this summer and I was really concentrating on it," he said, adding he's lighter than last year (but won't say how much) and scored higher in the fitness tests.

"It's definitely better than last year."

He, more than anyone, is glad to see MacTavish go, but knows a turnaround season doesn't begin and end with a new coach.

"We had our differences," he said. "I don't want to say my play is based on one person's ability to curtail it, it has to come from within. But it is a fresh start for me."

Quinn says he'll approach the situation with an open mind.

"Players have track records, like we all do. He's had some success as a player, he was on a Stanley Cup winning team and made a contribution there. I've read also that he had trouble with his coach there, so maybe that's a pattern, I don't know.

"There is a new slate as far as that is concerned. I'm not prejudging anything that's gone on in the past, but I will judge his going forward, as we will with all the players."


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