Goalie Picture Could Get Much Clearer

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 2, 2010 | Go to article overview

Goalie Picture Could Get Much Clearer


Byline: Tim Sassone tsassone@dailyherald.com

To say the Blackhawks' goaltending situation is uncertain would be the understatement of the off-season.

Perhaps the picture becomes clearer today when the Hawks decide either to accept Antti Niemi's $2.75 million arbitration award or go in a different direction -- possibly turning to veteran free agent Marty Turco, or even Corey Crawford. WGN-TV reported late Sunday night that the Hawks had reached a 1-year contract with Turco.

Hawks general manager Stan Bowman said Sunday to fans attending his panel discussion at the convention that he would wait until today to formally announce if the team is keeping Niemi. Bowman spent Sunday in meetings with his staff discussing the goalie.

"I don't know if there's one specific point to get across," the GM said. "It's just that there are options, more than anything.

"There are always options in every decision. You have to weigh what it would take, what it would do to your team in terms of flexibility-wise if you decide to keep him, if maybe you have to move somebody else along, or if you have to make a decision to go in another direction."

Niemi was awarded a one-year contract worth $2.75 million by an arbitrator Saturday.

Squeezing the $2.75 million under the NHL's $59.4 million salary cap would be the tightest of fits for the Hawks, who then could fill the bottom nine spots on the roster with players earning $900,000 or less.

"There are pluses and minuses to both of those strategies," Bowman said, referring to accepting the Niemi decision or leaving it. "There's no one right way to do it, but we're going to all think about it and we'll come up with the right decision.

"I've tried to say this all along. You know, one guy does not make a team here. We've got a lot of great players and we're going to be ready come October to defend the Cup and we're going to work on making sure we get it right. …

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