How Antero Niittymaki, Thomas Greiss feel about Sharks adding Antti Niemi

nittyspray.jpgThere are a few basic schools of thought regarding the San Jose Sharks’ signing of Antti Niemi, but ultimately I think you could group fan and writer reactions into two sides. On one side, people who especially believe in Thomas Greiss might think that the Sharks’ are guilty of goalie overkill. That being said, others would argue that neither Greiss nor new addition Antero Niittymaki have proven they can carry a heavy workload on a true NHL contender.

(For the record, I think that the Sharks were wise to hedge their bets in net, although their thinner defensive corps will make it more difficult for whomever starts in goal.)

If this summer taught us anything, it’s that there might be more qualified workers than there are jobs in the field of NHL netminding. So you have to wonder about the emotional impact of Niemi’s signing on Niittymaki and Greiss. Great beat writer David Pollak caught up with both goalies and found that they have very different, yet equally justifiable reactions.

Is Niittymaki devastated that he won’t get a surefire shot to be the No. 1 goalie on a true elite NHL team after years of being the top guy on bad squads or fighting through platoon situations on decent teams? Well, if he’s devastated, he certainly submerged that emotion in positive PR speak.

“It’s part of the business,” Niittymaki said when I reached him this afternoon. “It’s not a huge deal or anything. . . . Our goal here is to win a Stanley Cup. I think everybody knows that. They have to do what they feel like they need to do. I don’t have a problem with it.”

greissembattled.jpgConversely, Greiss did not shield his disappointment. Of course, Niittymaki has more justification for positivity; his demotion means he’ll probably be in a “1a/1b” situation with Niemi while Greiss likely be shuttled down to the AHL or a different NHL team. Here is what Griess said to Pollak.

“I was hoping to make the next step,” he said. “It’s understandable they’re bringing in a Stanley Cup goalie, the first time they have that in the organization. At this point I understand that. From the other side, I want to play as much as I can.”

Has it reached the point where he thinks his best opportunity might come in another organization?

“I talked with Doug about it,” Greiss said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Well, look on the bright side, Greiss; at least you can be the starter for the German Olympic team …

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    Uh oh, Marian Hossa might be injured after awkward fall

    Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa, left, talks to center Jonathan Toews during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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    The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

    (Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

    Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

    Video isn’t yet available, but My Regular Face’s GIF captures that troubling moment:

    It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

    Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

    Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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    If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

    You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

    The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

    For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

    (Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

    The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

    Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

    Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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    It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

    The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

    The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

    One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

    Report: Wild will tab John Torchetti as interim head coach

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    As many expected, the Minnesota Wild will make John Torchetti their interim head coach, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo.

    (He’s not the only one to report as much, as TSN’s Bob McKenzie also stated that he’s likely to take the job.)

    The team itself hasn’t made an official announcement about Torchetti, and the reasoning is probably simple enough: he’s coaching their AHL affiliate the Iowa Wild on Saturday night.

    Torchetti is no stranger to the NHL, although he’ll probably be frustrated if this opportunity doesn’t turn into a full-time gig. He was also an interim head coach for the Los Angeles Kings and Florida Panthers.

    As of this writing, the Wild are in a three-way tie for the first spot outside of the West’s wild card mix, although they could sink a bit depending upon how Arizona and Vancouver handle the one game they have in hand on the Wild.

    More importantly, Minnesota’s currently three points behind Nashville for the final wild card spot.

    That’s not an impossible goal for Torchetti. For whatever it’s worth, Sports Club Stats gives Minnesota a 34.7 percent chance to make the playoffs.

    (Note: photo via the Iowa Wild.)