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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    Red Wings rally by Bruins in another game that evokes the Eighties

    DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 18:  Tomas Tatar #21 of the Detroit Red Wings takes a second period shot that gets past Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins at Joe Louis Arena on January 18, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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    Things looked pretty grim for the Detroit Red Wings after the Boston Bruins chased Jared Coreau from the net with a quick 3-0 lead. Maybe the Red Wings took note that this has been a weird, high-scoring week in the NHL, because they rallied back and eventually won 6-5 via a shootout.

    To recap the zaniest games of each day from this odd few days of hockey:

    Monday: The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Washington Capitals 8-7 in an overtime thriller.

    Tuesday: The Dallas Stars managed to hold off the New York Rangers in a 7-6 victory. Plenty of weird things happened beyond all of those goals.

    Wednesday: Red Wings storm back from that 3-0 deficit to eventually win.

    Games like these can be a nightmare for coaches and goalies on both sides, yet Claude Julien was probably especially steamed by this one.

    The Bruins were up 3-0, 4-1 and 5-4 but the Red Wings kept fighting back. As a defensive-minded coach, Julien couldn’t have been happy with his team’s play.

    (That’s the coach’s answer to slamming a video game controller in a frustrating loss.)

    Fitting in with this week’s other wilder contests, there were flurries of goals even beyond the trio that quickly gave Coreau the boot. The Red Wings warped a 4-1 Bruins lead to a 4-4 tie with three goals in a little more than 10 minutes of time.

    Adam McQuaid then regained Boston’s lead 21 seconds after it was tied, but the Red Wings didn’t give up. Instead, they applied a ton of pressure in the third period until Gustav Nyquist tied it up with about three minutes left.

    Detroit still has a long way to go to protect its remarkable playoff streak, especially when teams like the Bruins can at least salvage “charity points” with losses. If the Red Wings want to make an unlikely push, they’ll need to show the kind of resolve that was on display on yet another wild night in the NHL.

    Pavelec makes highlight reel save, gets win in return to Jets’ net

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 28:  Ondrej Pavelec #31 of the Winnipeg Jets dives across to make a first period save against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on March 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Jets 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    With an expiring contract, Ondrej Pavelec’s time with the Winnipeg Jets is nearing an end. Plenty of Jets fans would say, mercifully.

    Still, he did return to the Winnipeg Jets net on Wednesday for his first NHL appearance since April 9, 2016, to mostly successful results. The Jets beat the Arizona Coyotes 6-3, for one thing.

    Beyond that, it probably felt like a typical Pavelec start for many Jets fans, though some would contest that it would also need to involve a loss.

    There were those regrettable moments, like giving up a goal right away:

    Even his critics would probably agree that Pavelec does have a knack for making breathtaking saves:

    It’s unclear how many more times we’ll see Pavelec play for the Jets (or an NHL team in general). His performance – if given more chances – in the near future may determine that answer.

    If nothing else, his 2016-17 debut felt pretty fitting.

    Connor McDavid hits the 100-point mark with assist (Video)

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 08: Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers skates with the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers in the third period at Wells Fargo Center on December 8, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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    PHT brings you the hard-hitting math, as you know, so here’s the latest burst: Connor McDavid is more than a point-per-game player.

    You see, he scored the 100th point of his promising NHL career, and he did so in just his 92nd career game on Wednesday. Let us remind you that he’s just 20 years old (and he turned 20 on Jan. 13). Yeah.

    Point 100 came on via an assist on a Zack Kassian goal as the Edmonton Oilers went up 1-0 against the Florida Panthers.

    Here’s the clip:

    Considering how quickly McDavid got to 100 and how young he is, it tempts you to do all sorts of speculative math. Maybe you’ll even wonder where No. 97 will finish on all-time lists:

    Here’s the helper in GIF form, if you’d prefer:

    Video: This assist helps explain why Red Wings might not trade Vanek

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    In the video above, you can see Bob McKenzie lay out the Detroit Red Wings’ status as the trade deadline begins to look like more of a consideration.

    Considering their playoff streak, it’s not that shocking that they’re at least struggling with the idea of being sellers. More than a few people probably did a double-take (or spit-take?) when McKenzie noted that management might opt to re-sign forward/remarkable reclamation project Thomas Vanek instead of moving him for assets.

    It’s reasonable to question that logic, but then you see what he’s doing lately, particularly the chemistry he seems to be building with Andreas Athanasiou.

    Wednesday’s gorgeous assist to Athanasiou illustrates some of that brilliance, if stats bore you:

    If stats tell some of the story, well, they’re impressive. Vanek now has a seven-game point streak with the assist; if he doesn’t score another point, he’ll have 10 points during that span. He also has at least a point in 11 of his last 12 contests.

    Athanasiou’s really “feeling it” lately, too. If he stays at a goal tonight, he’ll have five goals and eight points in his last seven games, only failing to generate a point in two of those contests. His speed and skill really seem to be coming to the surface, a great sign for the 22-year-old.

    Still, Vanek is 32, and the Red Wings would need a heck of a run to even make the playoffs. So that’s where the discussion gets a little sticky.

    There’s still time to sort that out, though. In the meantime, fans should enjoy what those two have been accomplishing, even if many want the window to close on that combo soon.