Hawks commit to Niemi for the postseason

Good thing the Blackhawks have Antti Niemi. Perish the thought of
actually using the goaltender the Hawks are paying nearly $6 million a
season for the next three years, in the playoffs of a season which may
be their best shot at a Stanley Cup.

It’s a very slippery slope.
With Cristobal Huet floundering, and not anywhere close to instilling any
confidence in his team that he can succeed in net for them. And with
Niemi starting the last five games — and playing well — it seems the
Hawks have found their goaltender of the future. From Tim Sassone
of the Daily Herald:

“I think he has a lot of confidence in the net,”
Quenneville said. “Guys get a little confidence when they get the net in
consecutive games.

“The thing that you like about Antti is he doesn’t get
disturbed or disrupted. His approach is the same, very quiet, low key. I
think this experience along the way is making him comfortable in the

Niemi will certainly be on a leash in the playoffs, but it was
important for the Hawks to make some sort of commitment heading into the
postseason. I have to admit that I really wanted to see Hawks fans and
their response after Huet allowed another goal right off a bounce off
the boards, in game five of a playoff series. Would have been epic.

Sens demote former first-rounder Puempel

Matt Puempel
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Looks like Matt Puempel won’t be making the leap after all.

Puempel, the subject of Ottawa’s “looking to make the leap” profile during our Team of the Day series, has been sent down to AHL Binghamton one day prior to the Sens’ opener against Buffalo.

Puempel, taken by Ottawa in the first round (24th overall) at the ’11 draft, made his big-league debut last season and looked as though he’d stick around — only to suffer a high ankle sprain after 13 games, and miss the rest of the season.

The 22-year-old came into this year’s camp looking to secure a full-time position at the big league level, but was beaten out by Shane Prince for the final forward spot on the roster.

To be fair, contract status probably played a role. Prince would’ve had to clear waivers to get down to Bingo, whereas Puempel didn’t.

A former 30-goal scorer in the American League, Puempel is expected to get another look with Ottawa this season.

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension


Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.