About three months ago, Montreal Canadiens forward Lars Eller suffered a concussion and facial fractures from a frightening hit by Ottawa Senators defenseman Eric Gryba in Game 1 of their first-round series. That scary scene left many wondering if the 24-year-old would ever be the same.
As of Sunday, it appears as if he won’t be. Instead, he might actually be stronger than ever.
Eller indicated to the Montreal Gazette that he’s feeling great as in the best shape of his career, as he’s bulked up big time during this summer.*
“I feel great, completely healed,” Eller said. “I did some more testing in Brossard (in mid- to late May) to make sure everything was back to normal, to make sure there were no symptoms related to the concussion. There haven’t been any.”
” … I’m definitely fitter. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to have a better season, but it’s going to give me a better platform to start from.”
Beyond bouncing back from that hit, Eller has motivation to boost his value during a contract year. He insists that he isn’t obsessing over it, however.
“The more you start thinking about chasing your next contract or the money, the more you have your focus in the wrong place,” Eller said. “You play your best when you’re just loving the game and having fun, thinking only about winning.”
If you need a reminder, here’s the hit that earned Gryba a two-game suspension (which Eller doesn’t really remember).
* – He’s reportedly weighing in at 220 lbs. after being listed around 201 in 2012-13.