KK Members Blog
So just like that, the Antti Niemi Era has ended . . . almost as unspectacularly as it began.
This week, the Blackhawks let their rookie Stanley Cup-winning goaltender walk away from a $2.75 million arbitration ruling and ushered in Dallas castoff Marty Turco as his replacement.
Make no mistake: The Niemi Era was short lived, but spectacular.
It began in fits and starts with no small amount of organizational waffling as Joel Quenneville and the Hawks brain trust bent over backwards giving Cristobal Huet every possible chance to cling to the starter’s job. But throughout the regular season, Huet ran from lukewarm to cold, leaving many to wonder about the kid from Finland who was exceptional in most of his backup stints. This went on and on and sometime in March – long after it became apparent to everybody with a functioning pair of eyes that Niemi was the man – Huet gagged hard in an 8-3 loss to lowly Columbus and the Hawks had no choice but to make it official: Huet was toast and Niemi was the Hawks new #1.
I was ready for the loss. I was ready to even come up with a phrase that the Chief might find useful for the next few years describing our defeat: “The Bullshit.” It made sense at the time; a team that played really, really hard. That arguably bent the rules as far as a team can in order to win. A team that backed that up with equally solid play. A team that played that strong forecheck and aggressive play that makes us chip and chase, which is so foreign to our system, along with the strong goalie; the formula that beats the wings every damn year that we lose a series.
However it is not so, for our man who bleeds Wings Red came through along with the rest of the team when it counted.
Props to Anaheim. Damn, you played so well I wouldn’t have felt THAT bad that we lost to you. Well played. Handshakes all around. I believe neither side would have had a pimply faced preteen crying in their pillows on YouTube.
Now comes the challenge, Chicago. Wrigley field ain’t got nothing on this.
Sat Oct 25, 2008 6 - 5 SO Win Wings
Sat Dec 6, 2008 4 - 5 SO Win Wings
Tue Dec 30, 2008 0 - 4 Win Wings
Thu Jan 1, 2009 6 - 4 Win Wings
Sat Apr 11, 2009 4 - 2 Loss to the Blackhawks
Sun Apr 12, 2009 0 - 3 Loss to the Blackhawks
This record may look like a winning one. But we eeked out those first two games. Rack the middle to up to hangover. The latter two were downright scary. I watched all those games, but the last two rattled me.
All season I knew, in my gut, or maybe lower, than it would come to this. And let me tell you, if I were a betting man (which I am outside of hockey, insomuch as my heart gets in the way), I’d put money on the Hawks. I hate to say it. But they’re going to work us over harder than Anaheim. Can we do it? I hope so. Can they do it? I hope not. The truth is, we both can. And that scares the sh*t out of me. These scrappy little youngsters care more about winning than we do right now, and we have to wake up and smell the…. well.. whatever the hell Chicago smells like.
About KK Members Blog
If you want to be a hockey writer, be our special guest!
How to Post
We only ask that you avoid profanity, and that you're careful to credit your sources -- news media or other bloggers -- and provide links to those other sites when appropriate.
Need help? Check out our help page.