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Hoglund getting his fax across, part II

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
by John Iaboni

John Iaboni has been covering the Maple Leafs and the NHL for nearly 30 years. For the last 10 years, he has been the managing editor of the team's game day magazine and now you can share his exclusive inside access.

"If I'm not mistaken, he had a pretty good start last year as well," Quinn says. "I just hope he keeps at the pace that he's at and it's not just the fact that he's getting rewards with points now but the level of play that he's maintaining has been good in his overall game. So that's what you look for as a coach. You know that if you look after that then you get points. But I don't think it has anything to do with wanting to prove anything. Jonas is a good pro, he practices hard and tries to improve every day anyway."

Quinn admits Hoglund's commitment to taking care of his own end "is continuing to get better."

The motivation of remaining a Leaf and meriting his position alongside Sundin aren't Hoglund's only incentives. He's fueled by another dangling carrot this season. He wants play for the Swedish Olympic Team, something that has already been guaranteed for linemates Sundin and Renberg.

"It's very important, it's a big goal for me," Hoglund says. "I hope to play there and I'm going to do everything I can to play there. I believe I've got a good shot. The last couple of seasons here I've played some good hockey and have got some good numbers to prove it, too. Our line, all three guys, can be in the Olympics and that would be great."

Count Sundin among his biggest boosters.

"It's not my call but the way Jonas is playing right now he certainly deserves a spot, there's no doubt about that," Sundin says. "We'll see if we have the Swedish coaches here any more to scout him. But if they ask me I'll put my word in for Jonas, that's for sure."

While the first star of the victory over Pittsburgh went to Sundin, Hoglund was also called for the post-game bow.

"He had a great game," Sundin says. "The second goal was totally his and he made a good play on the first as well. I think he's doing everything. Obviously what he went through the summer and coming into training camp, I think he's done a great job for himself.

"He's improved his own game. You can tell he's more confident. In the last couple of years, he's shown that we don't have to play together. He still can be productive and play well and I think he's become a lot more of an all-round player than just a pure scorer."

Hoglund is growing weary of being asked if he's achieved a certain comfort zone or if he feels pressured to prove himself every game. Politely, his response begins with a laugh.

"I love playing with Mats and I hope to stick playing with Mats," he says while diplomatically avoiding a direct reference to the queries. "I think we're playing really well together so I believe there is no reason to split us up anyways."

The fact - or fax - is Hoglund will dictate his own destiny with the Maple Leafs simply by how he performs over the long haul.
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