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San Jose Sharks

The Solution For The San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks

Antti Niemi  of the San Jose Sharks makes a save during their preseason game against the Anaheim Ducks at HP Pavilion on September 24, 2010 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Niemi 1-4-0, 3.90 GAA
Niittymaki 5-1-1, 1.78 GAA

After watching last night’s game and looking up some interesting stats I believe I have found the solution to the early season woes of the San Jose Sharks. The answer is Antero Niittymaki. Niitymaki has a record of 5-1-1 and Antti Niemi a record of 1-4-0. Niittymaki has a goals against average of 1.78 and Niemi an average of 3.9. More importantly the Sharks score an average of about 4-5 goals per game with Niittymaki in net yet score only about 2 when Niemi is guarding the house.

One argument against Martin Brodeur, the current goal tender of the New Jersey Devils and certain Hall of Fame inductee, is that Brodeur’s numbers are possibly only as great as they are because of the way New Jersey builds great defensive teams. That point being any decent goaltender put behind a New Jersey defense is capable of putting up Hall of Fame numbers.

If that’s true then the disparity between the Sharks’ goal tenders becomes that much more relevant. But what about scoring? Niemi is only getting about 2 goals a game support as opposed to the 4 that Niittymaki is getting. A goalie can not win if his team does not score goals. True that. But there’s another argument floating around the hockey world, that if a team doesn’t trust its goal tender then they start squeezing their sticks and start playing ‘back’. Is the lack of offense (or for our Canadian readers, oh-fence) when Niemi is in net due to a lack of confidence the team has in Niemi? Let’s not forget that the Chicago Blackhawks are a well run organization and if Niemi was that good they would most likely have at least tendered the $2.7M arbitrator ruling to keep their Stanley Cup-winning goaltender.

Given all the evidence I’m now curious to see how the team handles what might become an obvious decision - giving Niittymaki the full-time starting job with Niemi as the backup. I’m also curious how they use the two goalies to manage playing time, as the knock against both is that neither has shown they have what it takes to be a full time work horse in net.

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2 comments for “The Solution For The San Jose Sharks”

  1. I’m not sure what it is. The team just seems to play with more confidence with Nitty in goal as apposed to Niemi. Nitty seems to cover the puck better and kick out the rebounds into the corner. Niemi has had a lot of odd man rushes, but so did Nitty against Tampa Bay, but the difference is he stoned Stamkos. Maybe the team is still mad at Niemi for the playoffs last year and not playing hard for him or maybe Niemi is just trying to screw the Sharks again, this time as a player. Whatever the reason, Nitty can’t play 70 games like Nabby last year (o.k. this will be the last time I mention him). You still need to platoon your goalies and Nitty has not played a lot in the regular season and you don’t want to wear him down. Also you don’t want rust to develop on Niemi. For now ride the hot goalie and give Niemi spot duty and let him play on back to back nights.

    Posted by FCNo Gravatar | November 8, 2010, 2:06 pm
  2. [...] was Chicago being cheap because they had severe cap problems? And when you did a post mortem on the Sharks horrible start of the season you saw Antero Niittymaki shining between the pipes while Niemi showing no signs as to how he [...]

    Posted by NHL Hockey penaltykill.net | Antti Niemi Will Defend The San Jose Sharks Until 2015 | March 1, 2011, 2:07 pm

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