Antero Niittymaki would just like to play hockey

You may not have been aware, but Antero Niittymaki is healthy and ready to play hockey again for the Sharks.

The problem is that Antti Niemi is locked in as the starter and Thomas Greiss has made the backup job his own thus freezing out Niittymaki from getting a chance to play. David Pollak of the Mercury News hears it from Niittymaki about being healthy enough to play and unable to see any action.

“I don’t think it makes sense to anybody to have me as the third guy here. They know it, I know it,” said Niittymaki, who was activated Dec. 23 and has yet to dress even as a backup in any of the nine games since then. “We have to try and figure it out.”

Niittymaki says it’s boring having to spend nights in the press box as a healthy scratch and who can blame him? Niittymaki at this point in his career and coming off an injury is a backup goalie at best and teams that could use a little extra in goal might not be willing to swing a deal for him. Sharks GM Doug Wilson doesn’t have an easy job in figuring out what to do here.

For what it’s worth, Niittymaki is in the final year of his contract that has a $2 million cap hit. If there’s a team willing to take him on, he’s very affordable.

PHT Morning Skate: Everyone hates Ilya Bryzgalov


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Even Ilya Bryzgalov is frustrated with himself after the Flyers got pounded by Tampa Bay. (

Meanwhile, others are saying that Bryzgalov isn’t living up to his abilities or his contract. Ouch. (PhilaBright)

Predators fans are scared by Shea Weber’s concussion, but he might actually try to play on Friday. (Tennessean)

St. Louis lost Kris Russell to injury in last night’s loss to Detroit. (Post-Dispatch)

Damien Cox says that Ron Wilson’s contract extension is about the Maple Leafs embracing mediocrity. And you wonder why the Leafs relationship with the press is acrimonious. (Toronto Star)

The Lightning lost both Victor Hedman and Eric Brewer to injury last night. (Lightning Strikes)

The Panthers might be looking at former Devils/Wild/Blackhawks center John Madden. (Sun-Sentinel)

San Jose is rolling with a three-headed goalie situation now that Antero Niittymaki is back from injury. (

Thoughts and prayers go out to the family of former player and coach Johnny Wilson. (Maple Leafs)

James van Riemsdyk is being slowed down by a nagging hip injury. That would explain a lot about his lack of scoring. (


PHT Morning Skate: Teemu homecoming day edition

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Not only is it Teemu Selanne’s return to Winnipeg, but the current iteration of the Jets are fans of his too. Everyone loves Teemu. (Winnipeg Sun)

The Anaheim Ducks are even eager to share the wonder that is Teemu returning to where it all began for a day. (Ducks)

Down Goes Brown’s take on Teemu’s history is a damn fine hysterical tribute to the Finnish Flash. (Down Goes Brown)

Travis Zajac was really happy about his play in his first game back from a torn Achilles tendon. (Star-Ledger)

Tyler Seguin has finally been jinxed by the sophomore slump. (

Ken Dryden penned a fantastic piece on concussions and what Gary Bettman’s role in the league’s epidemic is. (Grantland)

Meanwhile in Chicago, Ray Emery is stealing the starting goaltending job. (

Antero Niittymaki was a winner in his first AHL rehab start. (

Olli Jokinen may have his ups and downs, but he does well in his former hometowns. (Calgary Sun)

Francois Beauchemin is becoming one of the leaders of a Ducks team in desperate need of guidance. (OC Register)

Ken Hitchcock and Barry Trotz renew their friendly rivalry. They should surprise us all by playing firewagon hockey against each other to celebrate. (Tennessean)

What’s the Red Wings’ key to success on the power play? Moving the puck, stupid! (Detroit Free Press)

PHT Morning Skate: Jaromir Jagr looks like your typical kung fu movie villain


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Ever hear of the Punk Test? Steve Dangle has and he says the Bruins are giving it to everyone… And they’re failing. (Real Sports)

Report says the Tom Gaglardi will be approved by the Board of Governors as the Stars new owner soon. (ESPN Dallas)

The Islanders are calling their third jersey debut a success. If by stomach pains, laughter, and nausea then yes, it’s a success. (Islanders)

Brian Campbell is autographing cans of soup to help support a food drive for Thanksgiving. That’s so deep, thoughtful, cool, and funny. (On Frozen Pond)

Who own da Canucks? Da Hawks do. They owwwnz dem. Owwwnz. (CSNChicago)

If you don’t think NHL players are keeping an eye on the NBA lockout, you’re wrong. Joe Pavelski is eyeballing things carefully. (

Junior hockey player Ryan Rupert used his stick like an ax to chop down his opponent and fight him after a loss. Nice right? Yeah, he only got a five game suspension. How’d the Wheel Of Justice land in the OHL like that? (Buzzing The Net)

Thomas Greiss isn’t exactly excited about seeing Antero Niittymaki coming back for the Sharks. (

Did the Kings have a European hangover? Maybe, but beating Anaheim 2-1 in a shootout helps. (L.A. Kings Insider)

Some humor for you: Curious to know if your team is on the bubble? Let The Active Stick tell you. (The Active Stick)

Finally, you clicked on this link to see Jaromir Jagr look like he’s ready to take on Bruce Lee. No one does a Movember Fu Manchu like Jagr as Randy Miller of Flyer Files got the dirt on it. (Flyer Files)

Antti Niemi coming back just in time for Sharks

The Sharks starting their season 1-2-0 is a disappointment for San Jose and while doing that with Thomas Greiss in goal and not Antti Niemi should be a reason to give them credit. After all, having Greiss lose a game 1-0 is more on the offense than anything, but fortunately for the Sharks, they’re getting Niemi back just in time.

David Pollak of Working The Corners reports that Niemi should be back for the Sharks on Monday night if all things go well and for San Jose, that means their band is virtually all back together. San Jose will be waiting on Martin Havlat to return to action and for a Sharks team with Stanley Cup aspirations, having the whole gang together means we’ll get to really see what they can do.

While Greiss has done reasonably well filling in for both Niemi and injured Antero Niittymaki, he’s not exactly the long-term solution San Jose wants in goal. Getting Niemi back in action is just what the Sharks need to help their defense settle in better. Now if their offense can score like they’re playing the Coyotes every night, they’ll be in business.