With the news of Antti Niemi being let go by the Chicago Blackhawks today after walking away from his arbitration decision, the speculation over where the soon-to-be 27 year-old goalie has taken off. One place that’s been getting mentioned heavily is Philadelphia, but as it turns out, there’s no interest there from general manager Paul Holmgren as Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly found out.
It made sense that the club pursed older veterans Evgeni Nabokov and even Turco this summer because general manager Paul Holmgren was looking for an experienced goalie to bide time while one of his prospects developed. Pursuing Niemi would seemingly alter that strategy.
Holmgren said late Monday afternoon he has no interest in pursuing Niemi.
Both Montreal and Washington are in need of a starting goalie, so Niemi has options.
Panaccio is trying to pass the buck in an interesting direction by mentioning both Montreal and Washington but it appears that both of those teams are also all set in goal. Montreal still needs to re-sign restricted free agent Carey Price and have already signed Alex Auld to be his backup. Washington, meanwhile, appears set to go with a major youth movement in goal going with incumbent semi-starter Semyon Varlamov and two-time Calder Cup winning goalie Michal Neuvirth.
Niemi could have plenty of other options though as long as his salary demands are in line with what the market is showing. Obviously Turco signing for $1.3 million with Chicago to replace Niemi is a bit different in that Chicago had no real cap space to work with, but cost-effective is the buzz word being used for goaltending all around the league now. Whether that translates into optimal results for teams remains to be seen.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have spoken out against a late, high hit that Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik threw on Olli Maatta early in the first period of an eventful Game 2 on Saturday.
Maatta left and didn’t return. He played only 31 seconds, and the Penguins were reduced to five defensemen for a large portion of the game. Orpik was given a minor penalty on the play, but the league’s Department of Player Safety may see it differently.
The hit occurred well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck. He struggled on his way to the dressing room for further evaluation.
Based on multiple reports, Orpik wasn’t made available to the media following the game, which went to the Penguins as they earned the split on the road.
But the Penguins have taken issue with the hit.
“I thought it was a late hit,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, as per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I thought it was a target to his head. I think it’s the type of hit everyone in hockey is trying to remove from the game.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.
Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.
Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.
It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.
It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.
For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.
Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.
Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.
Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.
The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.
Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:
In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.
Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.
Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.