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Canadian Press
9/15/2006 1:56:30 PM

Keith Tkachuk hit the ice Friday on the first day of St. Louis Blues training camp some 30 pounds lighter after a summer which saw the veteran winger rededicate himself in the gym.

"Feels like my first training camp," he told The Canadian Press between on-ice sessions.

Saturday will mark the one-year anniversary that Tkachuk was suspended by the Blues for showing up overweight and failing a physical.

A rigourous off-season training program has the 6-2 Tkachuk down to 229 pounds. He tipped the scales at 263 pounds last Sept. 16 when the Blues suspended him.

"I knew I had to be better than last year. Obviously I wasn't ready," Tkachuk said from St. Louis in his thick New England accent. "This year I was determined for pride. I want to go out and try to be one of the top wingers in the game. I want to get back to that. And I felt I needed a lot of work.

TSN : NHL - Canada's Sports Leader
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