Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman recently held a press conference regarding the Antti Niemi arbitration hearing, although the team is waiting for answers just like the rest of the hockey world. The reason for that is simple: the arbitrator has a 48-hour window to assess Niemi’s value and may indeed take until Saturday to make such a decision.
That being said, it’s interesting to hear Bowman and other people in official situations confirm a lot of the simple discussions that have been going on for weeks regarding Niemi. One thing they confirmed that is fairly obvious: the team can go in three directions with Niemi; they can accept the ruling, walk away from it or trade the goalie.
While I haven’t seen a full story on the press conference anywhere, here are a few comments from Bowman via the team’s Twitter page and various journalists.
Bowman: Decision will obviously be made based on what number is. Club has strategies mapped out on how it might go, but won’t speculate. (Link)
(Note: I corrected a bit of the next Tweet for clarity’s sake)
Bowman: In terms of free agent [goalie]s, [there] are a lot on the market… If have to go down that road, will be prepared. Team in October will be ready. (Link)
Moving along, here are a few more bits from journalists on Twitter.
First, James Mirtle:
Bowman says there weren’t a lot of comparables to Niemi given his lack of experience and accomplishments. I’m not surprised. (Link)
Mirtle speculates a bit on a possible “Plan B” goalie:
Bowman a bit elusive on their interest in Turco. I imagine that’s who they go to if they pass on Niemi. (Link)
Chris Kuc provides a few other details:
#Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman on Antti Niemi situation regarding cap: “We’re confident that we’re going to make it work for us.” (Link)
Adam Jahns shares what might be a “time line” for the decision.
Bowman said that he has spoken with Huet’s agent, but the issue of Huet’s future with the #Blackhawks will be addressed in August. (Link)
Essentially Bowman hasn’t told us anything that hasn’t already been speculated about regarding Niemi.