Report: Antti Niemi allegedly on the verge of deciding his hockey future

Anttiniemiabouttofreeze.jpgTwo of the biggest lingering stories from this off-season regard the future of Ilya Kovalchuk (as we discussed earlier) and former Chicago Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi. While there hasn’t been anything close to a confirmation – or concrete information, really – ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers reports that Niemi is on the verge of deciding which team he will play with next season.

I talked to a source today that indicated former Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi is close to making a decision on where he will play this upcoming season. It should happen over the next 48 hours.

According to this source, Niemi has offers from multiple teams. My guess is he’s weighing a short-term deal with a contender — think San Jose — rather than a deal with more security for a team that may not be ready to win.

While Joe discussed the Sharks and seven other teams possibly having an interest in Niemi, the list of teams that actually make sense right now is fairly skinny.

Will it be a contender with an unstable net situation such as San Jose or Philadelphia? Maybe a team with plenty of quantity but limited quality like Edmonton? Perhaps the Florida Panthers will decide that they need some Vokoun insurance by adding Niemi? Would he be comfortable in a 1a-1b situation? Finally, what about a foreign league with deeper pockets and less competition in net?

There are a lot of questions when it comes to Niemi, but very few answers. Yet, if Rogers is correct – and keep in mind it’s far from official – we may finally get some answers. Stay tuned, hockey fans.

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    After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

    Claude Julien

    The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

    Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

    Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
    Joe MorrowKevan Miller
    Matt IrwinZach Trotman

    And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

    That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

    “I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

    But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

    “It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

    And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

    Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

    All in all, it was a tough night.

    “We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

    The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.

    Greene named 11th captain in Devils history

    Dion Phaneuf; Andy Greene
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    Andy Greene has been named Bryce Salvador’s successor as New Jersey’s team captain.

    Greene, an undrafted free agent that’s spent his entire nine-year career with the Devils organization, becomes the 11th captain in the franchise’s history and third American to wear the “C” (Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were the others).

    A former standout at Miami of Ohio, Greene — who served as an alternate captain in each of the last two seasons — has developed into a steady, durable blueliner that hasn’t missed a game in three years. He’s also locked into the Devils long term, having signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the club last summer.

    That deal kicks in this season, and runs through 2020.

    As for the rest of the leadership group, four players will serve as alternate captains this season: Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, and Adam Henrique.

    Elias and Zajac both wore an “A” in New Jersey last year, while Cammalleri and Henrique are first-timers.