At 35, Scott Hartnell is a shadow of his former self.
And that's a good thing.
Hartnell lost almost 10 pounds this offseason, down from the 220 (or more) that he regularly carried around during his seven seasons with the Flyers to the 212 he will wield in his old building when the Predators meet the Flyers Thursday night.
"You eat like a bird,'' he said. "But to keep up with these young kids you've got to be able to move with them. I feel the best I have in years.''
A svelter, trimmed down Hartnell has meant a faster and more prolific Hartnell this season, as the Flyers discovered a week ago when their former teammate fist pumped in a pair during that wild 6-5 loss in Nashville nine days ago. He scored against Boston opening night and assisted on Nashville's only goal in a 2-1 overtime loss to Chicago last Saturday.
Hockey wasn't the only incentive to "shed some lbs.'' as he put it. In July he married Katie Potkay, a Bucks County woman whom he met while playing in Columbus. Potkay's father Doug is the tennis coach of Rider University.
"I've fallen in love with tennis,'' he said. Which, if you're sport is all about core muscles, ain't a bad way to spend the offseason. Or maintain the speed necessary to remain in a league that Hartnell says, "I still have the passion for. I still want to win it all.''
"That's one thing that eludes a lot of us hockey players. I want to get that tin.''