Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Niemi in Net

Doesn't it seem like the Huet/Niemi debate is like three years old now? I mean...Antti has so seized the goalie one spot in the past two months that it erases almost all traces of the consternation of this winter past.

And Niemi has been the best minder in every series so far. And that's hard to believe when you're talking about names like Nabokov and Luongo. He hasn't had the better game every single night necessarily, but big picture-wise he has out-minded his counterpart every step of the way.

Here's a stat for the Antti-doubters. Four GAA in playoff third periods. Total. Four! That is mind-boggling. The onslaught he survived in the final 11 minutes on Monday was the stuff of legend. Tell me he didn't look like a number one goaltender down the stretch. He made the average saves. And those spectacular. He gave no rebounds. He dazzled. His .919 SV% in the playoffs are up .07 from the regular season.

But let's not forget that he was 27-6-4 in that regular season. Why was there a netminder controversy again!?

And does Brian Campbell need to do anything else to prove his worth? Sure the 8 / 7.1 per seemed large at the time. And his offensive totals have trended downward. But his absence told you all you need to know. Look at the D now. The puck movement and overall flow have vastly transformed since his return. And Niemi has noticed too, methinks.

The City was abuzz last weekend when we were up there. I don't mind the support. Just don't wear a red 'Hawks t-shirt to a Cubs/Cardinals game. That's a no. And not to tout loyalty or anything... But I'm hoping the Eric Daze shirt I wore for the past decade renders my new Jonathan Toews jersey acceptable.