Breen looking to lower the boom this year
ABBOTSFORD, BC -- To say Chris Breen's summer was eventful would be an understatement.
When the Abbotsford Heat's playoff run came to an end in the second round, Breen, his fiance and their daughter Scarlett headed back to Ontario to get some quality time in with family and friends after a long 2011-12 season.
After that, he made a stop in Calgary for the Flames development camp. He ended up staying in town for close to six weeks, preparing for the upcoming season. Breen focused on strength and balance in his hips and legs, feeling those were areas of this training regimen that needed some refining.
"Just getting faster, more explosive," he stated. "I also worked on my mental game too."
Post-Calgary, he headed back to Abbotsford where he and his fiance welcomed their second child, son Colin. The experience has been drastically different than when Scarlett was born a few years ago.
"It was pretty amazing," he said, a grin spreading across his face. "It's pretty cool this time, getting to be around him and seeing how he grows, moves and all that stuff I didn't really get to see with Scarlett."
Breen, who is the Heat franchise leader in regular season games played with 144, is looking to use his size more to his advantage this year. At 6-foot-7, he has the ability to dictate the play in his own end using merely his frame but wasn't overly pleased with his physical game last year.
Head coach Troy Ward echoed that sentiment, noting the blueliner could push his game to the next level if he was able to play more aggressively.
"He's at a point where he has a great foundation both on and off the ice. He's extremely fit. We have to make some transfers on the ice physically.
"Given his size and where he's at in his development phase, we're going to expect probably more physicality things out of him than we ever have before ... there should be some type of physical component to his game so that is not easy to take ice against him."
Another area Breen would like to improve on is his offensive game. In his rookie season with the Heat, he scored four goals and 11 points. Last year, those numbers slid to one tally and seven points.
Abbotsford put together a franchise-best 42 wins in the regular season last year and while Breen is confident the organization can top that in 2012-13, he knows he and his teammates will have to generate more offence.
"I think if we stick to what we were doing defensively and then put up some more points, get that going, I think we'll be able to top last year for sure."