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Masked man

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff  January 17, 2007 11:18 AM

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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Tony Priolo, owner of Sportmask, delivered Hannu Toivonen's completed hat to the netminder this morning at HSBC Arena.

The mask is gold with Toivonen's No. 54 in white on the chin and a spoked B on the forehead. The neat stuff is Toivonen's tribute to the four Boston teams. There are graphics of Tedy Bruschi and David Ortiz on the left side of the mask, matched on the right with head shots of Larry Bird and Ray Bourque. There are logos of the teams pasted around the mask, along with a basketball player and a hockey player in action.

Two weeks ago in Toronto, I asked Toivonen, who was trying out the unpainted mask for the first time, what he had planned for a paint job. At the time, Toivonen declined to answer, only saying with a smile that he had something in mind.

"I told you I had something special," Toivonen told me this morning.

* Priolo also delivered a new chin piece for Tim Thomas, his other client. While Thomas's old chin piece was plain white, his new one features the snarling teeth of a bear. Priolo fitted the new piece to Thomas's mask, which he'll try out in the morning skate.

* Actually not too cold here in snow-covered Buffalo. Must have been the medium-hot wings at Duff's (a KPD recommendation) keeping me warm from the night before.

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