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Thread: Annti Niemi vs the Oilers 10/14

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    Default Annti Niemi vs the Oilers 10/14

    After Cristobal Huet's implosion and the teams remarkable comeback victory over the Flames last time out, I'd say it's almost a certainty that Niemi starts tomorrow vs the Oilers. I believe the team will ride the momentum behind Niemi and bring a far better defensive effort. On the other side of the pond, Khabibulin will probably get the call for the Oilers and be looking for redemption against his former mates. Last season these two teams met in October and the Hawks shutout the Oil 3-0 with Khabibulin in net for the Hawks.

    I think Niemi will make a good play for those of you looking to ride "the peaks of a goaltender" as Justin Goldman referred to in his article here:

    http://www.dobberhockey.com/index.ph...man&Itemid=100
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    I think the Hawks might go with Huet tonight.

    Huet Vs Khabibulin.

    There is no way that Huet wants to let Khabby get the win over him. Niemi is going to start in one of the B2B games - so I would expect him against Nashville.

    Your right though Niemi has more confidence right now and the team might ride the hot hand.

    Either way - Huet gets a start either tonight or tomorrow. So my money is on tonight

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    Actually - I would love to know your take on the situation Justin.

    This was my take from another thread of the game against Calgary and the situation in net.

    Huet played ordinary anyway. He had no help at all while he was in - but he still played bad.

    He reminded me abit of how Valamov has played recently. He started off looking confident in net and then as every goal went in he looked smaller and smaller and less confident.

    Lets get one thing straight - Huet has the ability to be a damn good goalie.
    And on the Hawks team - that would make him a top 10 goalie for sure.

    But I really don't think that he is mentally tough enough to be the starter.

    Whereas I really think Niemi is. Hell - he may not steal the job, but he has an 'enigma' about him. Plus he is a solid Finnish goalie. Behind the Hawks he could be a power house. And he is 26 years old - so it's not like they are throwing the ball to a young kid.

    When I compare the two - I have

    An inconsistent netminder who has loads of skill but has yet to apply.
    And a netminder who has been more consistent over his career (albeit not in the NHL) who has all the credentials to be a strong NHL goalie.

    I know I would always side with a solid goalie over a goalie who can be brilliant some nights but doesn't turn up to play on others.

    The Hawks probably have a good situation going on here -they will give both guys ample opportunities. And I'm not convinced that Niemi will be able to steal the postion - if anything Huet will hand it to him.

    And at the end of the season the BlackHawks can decide on who they want to continue with into the future.

    Huet just needs to sort his head out
    I would love to get a better take on this from the Goalie Master

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    Looks like you were right shook. Niemi to start tonight by the looks of things

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    The Huet/Niemi situation is very easy to read. I agree with some of things you said in the other thread, but some things I think you have to take into consideration. Plus I'm not sure about Niemi being an enigma ... he's not that good. You can look at Niemi's game and see he does a lot of things using his athleticism, not excellent technique. He is still a very "raw" goalie when it comes to the butterfly style.

    He has a lot of room to improve and that includes rebound control, how to move laterally with more efficiency and how to handle certain situations like around his net and taking away space off the half-boards. I think Niemi could easily turn into a solid NHL goalie in 1-2 more years, depending on his workload. The more Huet struggles, the more Niemi will improve at a quicker rate. The fact Niemi is older for a rookie does help him handle the mental pressures of being a goalie in Chicago, but the fact remains that technically he's just like any other raw talented Finnish goalie.

    1. Huet absolutely has the mental toughness to be a starter for an entire season. No goalie plays at the top of their game for a whole year. There are always ups and downs. The key is to maintain confidence when you're struggling and nip it in the bud as quickly as possible.

    Right now, Huet is not focused enough to bounce back strong and so he's struggling to play a complete game. He's deep in his crease and he lacks confidence. All it takes is two strong outings to turn things around. He's streaky and he's fighting the puck. His skills are legit but he's still "warming up" right now.

    2. Niemi is riding a wave of confidence in which he realized he can compete at the NHL level. There's no book on him and nobody has played against him before. He's going to surprise some teams that didn't know he was a big goalie with good movement and impressive athleticism. But it would be a complete shock if he ended up posting numbers like Steve Mason or Pekka Rinne...I just don't think he's "polished" enough or has the footwork or footspeed needed to stop enough pucks.

    Overall, I do love Niemi's competitive nature and his confidence combined with his age, but you can't expect this great start to last forever. I don't think he was challenged by the Panthers and tonight's game will be a big game for him...and I'll be watching him closely.

    This dynamic is easy to read but very tough to know where it goes from here. I don't have all the answers but hopefully a lot of you realize that Niemi is still very raw with his technique and will need to work hard to refine and improve certain aspects that turn GOOD NHL goalies into GREAT NHL goalies =)

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    Well, I know that even without Marian Hossa the Chicago offense is dangerous enough to win with a goalie who makes the routine stops and will occasionally make a good one. Huet hasn't even been able to stop the many of the routine ones so far, and the Hawks aren't likely to just give points away...
    8 Team Roto League (1-year)
    Cats: G A +/- PIMs PPP SHP SOG SH% HIT BLK GAA SV% SVS W SO
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    I look forward to your analysis Justin - I will try to watch some of the game tonight aswell, short on time atm though.

    The thing that impressed me about Niemi was that save on the breakaway by Olli Jokienen. It was like a mirrior image to the one that Huet let in on Iginla - except Huet played all over Iginla's shot.

    I thought he was otherwise ordinary. But I think all the Hawks need to win is 'ordinary' anyway. I could have backstopped the Hawks to a win against Florida

    That and of course his awesome name - who doesn't like saying Niemi?

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    Well I just got done watching the Oilers/Blackhawks game. I have a much better read on the Hawks' goalie situation and it's not a controversy at all.

    1. Huet is a rhythm goalie. He needs to see a lot of shots on a consistent basis in order to get into that rhythm and really be effective.

    2. The Blackhawks are turning into the Red Wings, especially at home. They don't give up a lot of shots or scoring opportunities on home ice. This is not condusive to a rhythm goalie like Huet. It means there will be a few of these stretches where his timing is off and he's pulled or just posting a crappy sv%.

    3. Niemi is playing as hard as possible because he's fighting for his life. His rebound control is pretty weak as you saw in the game, but he's putting it all on the line and he's playing with energy. That means he's playing with more focus and making the timely save. Despite everything going on in the game, he made a HUGE right shoulder save on Horcoff I believe late in the third period that kept the Hawks in the lead. I think he made 2 or 3 nice, timely saves around that time to preserve the lead. That's really the only time he was tested in the entire game and he faced less than 20 shots total.

    4. This reminds me of the situation in Detroit. They don't need a great goalie that can make 35-40 saves a night, they just need a goalie that will make the timely save regardless of how many shots he faces. Right now they get that with Niemi, but it's tough to accomplish with Huet, at least until Huet can finally get into that elusive rhythm.

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    Very true Justin...CuJo and Hasek had trouble in MoTown with the same problems that you mentioned with Huet in ChiTown. (I think a lot of goalies...Craig Anderson comes to mind...are very much the same way...they fare better when they see a lot of puck.)

    I think it's still a controversy to many because of Huet's big contract...you can't expect the average fan to understand the finer intricacies of these netminders.
    8 Team Roto League (1-year)
    Cats: G A +/- PIMs PPP SHP SOG SH% HIT BLK GAA SV% SVS W SO
    F: Ovechkin, Stamkos, Giroux, Perry, Tavares, Eriksson, Benn, Jagr, Heatley, Alfredsson, Roy, Hanzal
    D: Phaneuf, Del Zotto, Kulikov, I. White, Goligoski, Niskanen
    G: M. Smith, Emery
    BN: C. Stewart, J. Staal, Read, Brouwer, Ward, Hedberg, Pavelec, Bachman
    IR: Letang, Giordano

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    Not sure how I missed this - Cheers for the information Justin!

    That was kinda of my thoughts - Chicago don't NEED Huet.
    And I don't think that Huet thrives in their system too much either.
    Huet is still good - and better than Niemi, but when it comes time to make cap space - Will Huet stay? I guess that will be determined by his play through this year. I doubt they turf him before the deadline unless Niemi has excelled and they aren't using Huet at all - because I am sure they will want him for the playoffs. But I don't think he stays at the end of the year.

    And the enigma part was due to his name

    Say it to yourself a few times - Antti Niemi, Antti Niemi....

    Same syllables as - Evgeni Nabokov, Roberto Luongo

    Coincidence? I think not

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