Proud American Hockey League Affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks

Our Town Or Team
Buy Tickets

IceHogs News

Gamebreakers: Antti Niemi And Cristobal Huet

From (link)

If you hear high-pitched shrieks of terror emanating out the Windy City in the next couple days, relax, everything is OK. It's just a bunch of Stanley Cup-hungry Chicago Blackhawks fans worrying about their team's goaltending heading into the postseason.

Heading into the series with the Nashville Predators,
Antti Niemi appears to be "the guy" because he has played markedly better than Cristobal Huet since the Olympic break. Niemi, though, has never been in a Stanley Cup Playoff game and until this season played in only three NHL contests.

While his inexperience is cause for concern, the Blackhawks swear that they have full confidence in not just Niemi, but Huet, too.

"I don't think we worry about it, to be honest with you,"
Patrick Kane told "We know if we play well in front of them and don't give the other team too many chances we'll be fine. I think both goalies are capable of doing the job."

Some fans will say that's false hope on the part of Kane, but there is evidence to suggest that Niemi in particular is capable of handling the pressure that comes along with backstopping a team that is supposed to contend for the big silver prize.

After giving up four goals in St. Louis on March 30, Niemi won six straight starts. He had a shutout in Minnesota one night after losing, 4-2, in St. Louis. He then made 32 saves for a 2-1 shootout win in New Jersey. He also made 25 saves in a win against Calgary, 26 in a win vs. Dallas and 30 in a win against Colorado.

Niemi has four shutouts in games he's played after losses, and he finished the season with seven shutouts in all, tied for third in the NHL. Niemi's overall record was 26-7-4 with a 2.25 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.

"His approach is conducive to it," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "He goes about his business, is in control and focused on trying to stop the puck. You have to commend him for handling different situations all year. He's grown in his game and his mental approach to the game as well. Not too many things bother him."

The true challenge is about to begin, and nobody can say with any certainty that Niemi is up for it. If he isn't, you know Quenneville will quickly go to Huet, who at least brings some playoff experience to the net.

Huet has fared only so-so in his 16 playoff appearances (6-10, 2.73 GAA, .917 save percentage), but he was strong in his final effort of last season's playoffs when he made 44 saves in a 2-1 season-ending loss to Detroit in Game 6 of the Conference Final.

The Hawks insist they trust Niemi and in the same breath insist they trust Huet, too.

They seem ready for just about anything, but the last thing they want to see is a goalie change. Usually that means something went wrong.

"We understand as forwards or defenseman that the guys that are going are the guys that are going to be playing, and it's no different for the goaltenders," captain
Jonathan Toews said. "Both of them will be ready for whatever in the playoffs and we're confident as a team that they will both do the job no matter who steps in."

Search Archive »

Browse by Month »

January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010

December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
December 0200