'Hawks present negatives on Niemi hoping for positive outcome


I never understood the two-faced hilarity that is salary arbitration. The Blackhawks will tell a judge all the reasons they feel  Antti Niemi shouldn’t be compensated as he sees fit. Conversely, Niemi and his agent will explain why Niemi’s performance to date warrants a top-tier goaltender salary.

The ‘Hawks will attempt to prove why Niemi’s not worth the money, and Niemi’s agent will fight it. Yet the entire time, the Blackhawks want Niemi back wearing the Indian head — and from what we’re told, Niemi wants the same, but only for the right price.

It’s a back-and-forth process each side has dealt with since the Stanley Cup arrived back in Chicago. And today, we’ll finally get a ruling on what Niemi deserves — and doesn’t deserve. Either way, there will be countless overreactions to the judgment. People will cheer if the ‘Hawks win, and people will break shit if Niemi does. Neither reaction makes much sense.

As a sidenote, this is the reason I’ve stayed out of all this off-season salary cap shit. I haven’t posted here much because all I’d be doing is bitching about people whining over the Byfuglien and Versteeg trades and calling them their favorite players. Rather than crunch numbers or freak out about who will be the Blackhawks’ fourth-line center who can fit under the cap, I’ve been enjoying my Stanley Cup. I feel there should be a three-year grace period when you can’t bitch and complain about any move a franchise makes not involving a star player after winning a championship. I’m sick of hearing about all this crap. The Blackhawks just won the goddamn Stanley Cup. Enjoy it, shut up, and let the chips fall where they may.

If anyone believes the ‘Hawks go into today’s hearing with an offer of anything more than $2 million, they need to put the bong down. If anyone believes Niemi will present a demand of anything less than $3 million, they need to relinquish the crack pipe. Someone is leaving the hearing pissed off.

My guess? Start preparing for life without Niemi, ‘Hawks fans. I don’t see how this can work out. I would love to see Niemi back in net next season. It’s the best for both sides. But will I kill myself if Niemi is protecting another team’s goal on opening night? Hell no. There are viable options out there, mainly the constant rumor of  Marty Turco, who would come cheaper than Niemi.

No matter what happens, the Blackhawks will have a goalie good enough to play well behind one of the best defensive units in the NHL. Freak out about this hearing if you must, but it isn’t make or break for the ‘Hawks. It’s natural to get caught up in the names when your team wins a title. Problem is, I’m hearing too much of people worrying about the names of the since departed rather than what they actually brought to the table — which, sadly to say, is replaceable.

And the same goes for Antti Niemi.

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  • http://www.chicagonow.com/justbeatit *db

    Completely agree. You can replace toughness for less. I’ve actually felt pretty good since we re-signed Hammer. That gives us a totally solid top 4 d-men, Kane and Toews on one line, Bollie and Hossa on another, plus Sharp and Brouw floating somewhere… Guys: that’s a solid core.

  • Daniella

    Blackhawks convention passes giveaway!!! http://bit.ly/a0iku3

  • Jonathan

    Great article. I thought that someone should come BACK to this and give you some credit. You were right about what the Hawks wanted to pay, what Niemi wanted to earn, and the predicted outcome of what would happen.

    Further props for the Turco mention…you hit the nail on the head.

    Keep doing what you are doing Mr. Bartl, your blog is the first place I go for Hawks news.

    PS I also loved “Reactions on Niemi, Turco from the guys with credentials”…it is great that someone else thinks that David Haugh is an idiot.

  • http://blackhawkup.com Bartl

    Jonathan,

    Thank you very much for the kind words. As I wrote in my one-year post, people like you make all the time I spend writing here completely worthwhile. I’m glad I can keep you coming back.