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Friday Afternoon Blog

Friday, 01.19.2007 / 3:30 PM ET / News
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Friday Afternoon Blog
Not too much to report from today’s practice.

Optional skate today -- those players who skated this afternoon (Muzz, Axie, Stan, Tenker, Phil, Dono, Hoagie, Boysie, Z, Bobby, Albie, Jurky, Toivo and Tank) do not have to skate at tomorrow’s morning session.

All three coaches (Houds, Habby, and Louie) were on the ice, as well.

The rest of the pack must skate before the game, Saturday morning.

Basically, Our Boys went through a bunch of shooting drills, the first of which had circle into the neutral zone, take a pass and shoot on the move.

Toivonen stood tall
Hannu Toivonen looked to be having a blast this morning (nothing like a win, right?) and I learned this morning that last night’s victory came in front of his dad, visiting from Finland -- so that was a nice story.

"As a team, it’s important to win those games," said Hannu, who was thankful for the ’W’ no matter who was watching. "They are a team that we are competing hard against for a playoff spot, so it’s an important point."

What about the shootout Toivo -- how do you approach it?

"I think, as a goalie, you expect to stop three of the shooters," he explained. "At least two.

"You want to give your team a chance to win.

"And if you don’t stop them you don’t have that chance to win and…that’s what (the shootout) is all about," said the young Finn.

Toivonen did more than give his team a chance -- he stopped Crosby, Malkin and Gonchar in succession.

"It’s just like any other situation in the game," said Toivonen. "You just try to get a good gap, let the other guy make the first move and try to stop it."

I asked Hannu if he slept a little easier last night after going home with the win?

"I always have a hard time sleeping after the games," said Hannu, who admitted that last night was "maybe, a little easier."

Toivonen earned his rest last night, for sure.

Hoagie works hard
One thing that I have noticed all season is how hard Jeff Hoggan works -- every single day.

Optional practice, game, pickup game, Hoggan is running at full speed.

"Hard work is pretty much all I know," said Hoggan. "That’s what got me here."

And it shows because Jeff never takes a day off.

"Regardless of the score, too, I just try to focus on every shift," he said. "If I have a bad shift, I just try to come back with a good shift.

"Some guys say I have only one speed," added Jeff, with a chuckle.

"But that’s been my bread and butter, working hard, bringing energy, and it’s been working out so far."

Boysie, a boxer?
The optional featured a short, good-natured, wrestling match between Zdeno Chara and Brad Boyes.

Laughing, they "fought" on their knees, no doubt so that Boyes could reach Z, and attempted to have a fair "fight." As much as it evened things up, Chara was still a good foot taller than Brad and had no trouble subduing the young forward in several arm locks.

F.Y.I. to Boysie -- Big Z’s dad, Zdenek, was a wrestler on the Czechoslovakian Olympic team in 1976.

Spoke with coach: No word on goalie for tomorrow, yet. And no York or Primeau until after the NHL All-Star Game.

Have a nice afternoon.
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