Wednesday, September 01, 2010

"Sharks Are Pro-Antii Niemi" or "Faith No More For Greiss"

Nick Kypreos was the first to break it, but it seems Antii Niemi is now a member of the San Jose Sharks, reportedly agreeing to a one-year, $2M deal that'll see him duel with fellow countryman Antero Niittymaki for time in the crease and to see how many "i's" they can put into their names.

Now, the thing with this is two-fold. Why would the Sharks be stocking up on goalies, especially for a one-year deal?? Do they lack that much faith in Thomas Greiss as a back-up that they're making him stay in the AHL for another season?? While it could be that, maybe they've lost faith in Greiss and are waiting for Alex Stalock or Tyson Sexsmith to grab the ball and run with it as the back-up to Niittymaki next season.

Plus, how does it feel to be Niittymaki right now?? You go from being the top guy and being able to not have to challenge for any starts to fighting game-by-game, practice-by-practice to get some playing time. Granted, it seems that when in a battle, Niittymaki really shines-- much like he did when dueling with Mike Smith for time in the Tampa net and during his tenure in Philadelphia, when he was healthy.

As for Niemi, I'm sure he's happy he doesn't have to go back to Finland or elsewhere to pick up his playing career and he gets to stay in the Western Conference, where he'll face his old team more than once in the season. Of course, we'll see what he's made out of during the season, just to see whether or not he was a fluke who played behind a great team or if he can hold his own should the team in front of him comes up short.

If nothing else, for the Sharks; this could give them a nice little two-headed monster in net should everything pan out as they hope. Also, it renews the hope that the Sharks have in Finnish goaltenders, as we've seen in the past with Vesa Toskala, Miikka Kiprusoff, and who could forget Jarmo Myllys. I mean, yes, only Kiprusoff has taken off to great heights, but still. The Sharks love the obscure Germans and Finns in net. Hopefully, this will get them to the next level and not make them wish they had re-signed Evgeni Nabokov.

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