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Free Form Friday

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
The World According to the Swede

There is not a more plainspoken (i.e. honest) person in the B's looker room than veteran forward Per-Johan Anders Axelsson and after the game last night, P.J. spoke about the contest and his team.

"We won today, and that's good," said Axelsson of the Bruins 2-0 victory over Washington. "But I think we can play a little bit better.

"The calls there at the end helped us (and gave us) a 5-on-3.

"And, other than that, it was a pretty even game," said Axie, echoing some of the sentiment around the Garden as the game wound down.

By the tone of questioning in the B's locker room, many of the writers felt that shutting down Ovechkin was the key to the victory.

"A good job and a little luck," said P.J. with a smile.  "But I think (Chara) did a heck of a job on him.

"Z does that. When you give him an assignment like that he takes care of it. He's good at that."

Speaking of his new teammate, defenseman Shane Hnidy, Axelsson looked pleased.

"He plays the body, that's for sure," said the Swede. "He's always done that.

"Hnidy is a defensive (minded) defense, takes care of his own end and plays a simple game.

"And he likes to hit people," repeated Axie with a chuckle.

As far as the Bruins special teams are concerned, Axelsson sees improvement and therefore,  less reason for concern.

"They've been a lot better," he said. "The last four or five games now, the penalty killing has been much better and the power play has been pretty good all year and came up with a big goal for us today."

10:26 a.m.
Looking in at our latest front page poll, "If it could be arranged, where would you like to see an outdoor NHL game played in Greater Boston?" we have gotten an overwhelming majority who want to see hockey in a baseball park -- and I can't blame them.

Despite Harvard Stadium being my personal choice, having talked to players and persons around the Garden, the nostalgia of playing in Fenway makes it a natural.

Rookie froward Milan Lucic (who made his first trip to Fenway last summer) and I laughed about the possibility of a anti-Yankees chant of dubious verbiage occuring during play of what could be a Bruins vs. Rangers matchup.

I will admit that an outdoor game at Fenway would be something out of a storybook and I certainly hope it happens. Maybe next Jan. 1?

Just for Ha-Ha's I am going to leave the poll up for a couple more days -- front page, Bottom right. Vote for your choice of venue...

Fenway Park
Harvard Stadium
Gillette Stadium
BC's Alumni Stadium
Total Votes:

2:51 p.m.
Just got in from practice, but am running out -- here is a synopsis.

No real updates on any of the injured players, all of them are undergoing treatment and are being evalutated daily. Andrew Alberts is NOT skating at all. Patrice Bergeron has been able to use the stationary bike. Glen Murray has been skating, as has Aaron Ward.

Alex Auld left practice to be with his wife who went into labor.

Bob Essensa was the "other" goalie at Wilmo, today...

8:00 p.m.
Bruins week ahead is up on front page. But I saw one thing that I wanted to pass around a few times.

Game vs. Carolina Hurricanes, 7:00 p.m. ET (TV: NESN, RADIO: WODS 103.3 FM)

So those ofyou who usually listen in to Dave and Bob, make sure you adjust your dials!

8:48 p.m.
Just Announced!

Cam Neely to join 3:00 PM session of Wives' Charity Carnival
Sunday, January 6th at the TD Banknorth Garden
All net proceeds benefit Cradles to Crayons with the entire Bruins roster in attendance.

The Boston Bruins Foundation announced today that Hall of Famer Cam Neely will make a special appearance at the 3:00 PM session of the 18th Annual Boston Bruins Wives' Charity Carnival. Cam's banner will be lowered from the rafters of the TD Banknorth Garden for a truly memorable photo opportunity.

In addition to photo opportunities with Cam Neely, the Wives' Carnival offers events for the entire family:
Shoot on Bruins goalies Tim Thomas,
Alex Auld and Tuukka Rask
Play Dance Dance Revolution with Andrew Ference
Play Guitar Hero with Milan Lucic
Get a tour of the Locker Room with Claude Julien
Try to dunk Mark Stuart at the Dunk Tank

General Ticket Pricing:
Early Bird Session: $30
General Session (adult): $20
General Session (child): $10

Please note:
Purchasing a carnival ticket allows entry into the event. Please be advised that an additional donation is requested to play some of the carnival games/activities. Fees range from $1 - $15.

I will be lurking about the Garden, taking note and pictures on Sunday! Please say, "Hi." JB

9:27 p.m.
I was remiss in mentioning the following...

From For the second straight year, Canada has defeated the United States in the semifinals of the world junior hockey championship in the Czech Republic.

Goals by Shawn Matthias, Karl Alzner, Colton Gillies and Brad Marchand propelled  Canada to a 4-1 victory and a date with Sweden in Saturday's gold medal game.

Marchand has had one heck of a tourney -- and I guess if someone had to beat Team USA, I'm glad it was him. What a competitor.

This date in Bruins history
All-Time January 4 Record: Home,  8-1-1. Road, 9-7-2. Overall, 17-8-3.
1930    The Bruins set an NHL record with their 12th straight win, a 4-2 victory at the Montreal Maroons.
1944    Bill Cowley has two assists in a 6-4 Boston win over the Chicago Blackhawks, giving him 257 for his career and moving him into first place on the NHL’s all-time assist list.
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