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Tuesday with Tim & Toivonen

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins

Wall, Squared…
Walked into practice a little late today and was startled to find a wall in front of the ’wall’ that is Bruins goalie Hannu Toivonen.

Literally speaking, one of the Bruins coaches had put a 7-foot wall, usually used as a modesty shield for the rookie dressing rooms, in front of Toivonen -- most likely to simulate skaters in front of his net, without actually having to put Bruins skaters in jeopardy of errant pucks.

Needless to say, the wall did not seem to interfere too much with our favorite Finn although it was funny to see him appear to try to peer through the curtains in the wall’s improvised window.

Maybe you had to be there.

Speaking of errant pucks, Brad Stuart had a puck hit him in the back of the skate today.

This is noteworthy only because of said puck’s trajectory.

The puck came off a shot from the point, off of Tim Thomas’ blocker, off the post, straight up in the air and down into Stuart’s skate.

After witnessing the incongruous nature of the puck’s flight into his foot, Stuart said, "Ow." He shook his head and skated away.

Of course he was fine. He’s a hockey player.

Speaking of Tim Thomas, the University of Vermont’s finest was channeling Billy Smith today, playfully reminding the Bruins forwards that he was behind and around them by poking them with his goalie stick. Thomas’ "edge" softened when P.J. Axelsson scored on a break away and gave him a good razzing.

Both men were grinning ear to ear afterward.

However, as a novice member of the goalies union, I was grinning when Tim stoned P.J. with the glove a few seconds later.

Thomas confirmed that his ’Smithiness’ was all in good fun and that if he really wanted somebody to know where he was -- we would know.

By the way, Thomas also channeled a slinky on one save when he dove right, switched back left, rolled over and lost his mask in pursuit of the puck.

It hurts my back just thinking about it.

Shout out to my college peeps…
Speaking of the University of Vermont and all of the rest of Hockey East.


The SID’s and AD’s for many of the conference’s clubs were in the Garden today for the annual Hockey East Media Luncheon.

I used to love the luncheon as it is just one more reminder that hockey season is just around the corner!

And no, I can’t get you BU vs. BC tickets.

Wilmington trivia…
Noticed, while sitting in the same spot for the umpteenth day in a row, in the coldest rink in the universe, if not this galaxy.

Did you know, by the way, that the Wilmington Wildcats were the Cape Ann Ice Hockey Champions in 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, & 2002?

They were also the North Cape Girls Ice Hockey Champions in 2004 and 2005.

Drill, drill down…
Another "fun" new drill, today, pitted a D and a Forward versus two forwards. The mixed pair had to fight with the forwards in the corner, and if they lost, double back to protect the net. This led to some "spirited" play in the corners and not a few nice plays both ways.

Petr Kalus, Yan Stastny and Petr Tenkrat seemed to enjoy this drill the most and all three skaters had success on both sides of the puck.

Every skater stayed after practice to work on this, that, or another skill or technique, with forwards and goalies going to one end and the Defenseman going to the other.

The most entertaining end of the rink remained with the D, who practiced slap shot accuracy again, minus the pushups.

All of the guys let loose some monster shots and more and more of those ghoulish slappers are finding the net.

Those pucks that don’t find twine smack with a bladder-testing CRASH off the end boards.

It’s intimidating the say the least to this would be goalie.

And the shots are going to be downright scary for opposing professional netminders, at their best.

Food for thought…
Thanks to everyone for voting on their favorite snack at the TD Banknorth Garden. The two polls on grazing at the Garden were a big success.

Today, I put up a poll on time travel, drafting/trading, and superstars.

Give it a whirl. And if you have an idea for a poll, hit me up..

Back to the room…
"I just tried to come in and do the things I do well and try to join the play offensively and play well defensively and let them know that whatever situation they want to put me in, I am ready to go…I love Boston so far, I’ve really enjoyed it. My wife and I got here fairly early, in August, and we were able to spend a few weeks…We got to go downtown [Boston] and enjoy the whole history and the vibe of downtown was really awesome."
Defenseman, Nathan Dempsey, on training camp and Boston in general

"We’ve got a lot of different types of players here. And that is important. We are not strictly a finesse team. We got some guys who can play gritty and some guys that can skate. We got some big guys, we got some small guys. It’s a good thing to have [a diverse set of players]…Judging from last year, what I saw, you gotta have mobile D now. All seven of our defensemen can skate now and can all move the puck. And that’s number one. If you are going to have a good team you have to have D that can get back and make that first pass."
Defenseman, Jason York, on the makeup of the team, and the defensive corps

"We’ve got some really big guys."
Jason York, on second thought, about the size of the D corp, said with a chuckle

"You know, I put team first…When you see something like that, it’s something that is engrained in me. That’s something you do. You stand up for your teammates. Win or lose, you show up and protect your teammates. That is something I pride myself on."
Forward, Jeff Hoggan, on standing up for a teammate in Moncton

Homeward bound, I wish I was…
"I certainly am [happy to be in the Garden on Saturday]. It will be really nice go in there and to walk out there and see a home crowd."
Head Coach, Dave Lewis, on coming home on Saturday

Got tix?
Tickets are going fast for many of the Bruins most sought after dates. And there are plenty of tickets remaining for the B’s final tune up. Let’s get a big crowd to welcome the boys home and wish them luck on their season starting road trip!
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