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The Antti Niemi Appreciation Thread

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Old
04-24-2012, 10:45 AM
  #26
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Originally Posted by juantimer View Post
Not real sure how I can explain how Niemi drags offense down, then people go on about how the offense was at fault but not Niemi.
Niemi is a goalie. Goalies don't drag offense down. Just listen to yourself really. Obviously better puck handler helps in any team/system but it isn't the reason why our offense is sucking... If it would we would have Marty Turco between the pipes.

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04-24-2012, 10:46 AM
  #27
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I'm not so much Anti Niemi as I am Pro Niemi

<3 niemi, and for 3.8 mil, he's a steal... kept us in most games all year and kept us alive for much of the blues series.... you cant blame niemi when teams get PP chances so often

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04-24-2012, 11:22 AM
  #28
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oh man i thought this was the Anti Antii Niemi thread.

oops wrong thread.

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04-24-2012, 11:40 AM
  #29
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I'm not that fond of Nemo (mainly because I miss Nabby), but I think he did a very good job in the series.

But if he performed better during the roadie from hell, who knows what've happened.


Last edited by Inub0i: 04-24-2012 at 12:11 PM. Reason: God dammit phone
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04-24-2012, 11:52 AM
  #30
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find of Nemo
Funny how some typos work out.

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04-24-2012, 11:55 AM
  #31
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Originally Posted by Inub0i View Post
I'm not that find of Nemo (mainly because I miss Nabby), but I think he did a very good job in the series.

But if he performed better during the roadie from hell, who knows what've happened.
Ive defended Niemi quite a bit since we signed him.

Regardless, he was pretty terrible this season. Not that he was getting a lot of help, and he DID play his best games of the year in the playoffs, but at this point I attribute that more to getting hot at the right time as his historic playoff performance has been far short of impressive.

I like the guy, but I think he's a dime-a-dozen and some GM's who are desperate for goal-tending might overpay for him still. Time to move on.

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04-24-2012, 12:11 PM
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arrch View Post
Funny how some typos work out.
D'oh!

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04-24-2012, 12:12 PM
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeyball View Post
Ive defended Niemi quite a bit since we signed him.

Regardless, he was pretty terrible this season. Not that he was getting a lot of help, and he DID play his best games of the year in the playoffs, but at this point I attribute that more to getting hot at the right time as his historic playoff performance has been far short of impressive.

I like the guy, but I think he's a dime-a-dozen and some GM's who are desperate for goal-tending might overpay for him still. Time to move on.
True. We can trade him to Toronto, they seem desperate for a starter, unfortunately it's what's coming back that concerns me if we're doing this

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04-24-2012, 12:45 PM
  #34
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Who cares what he did in the playoffs, his poor regular season play cost us a Pacific Division banner.

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04-24-2012, 07:00 PM
  #35
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Originally Posted by juantimer View Post
Not real sure how I can explain how Niemi drags offense down, then people go on about how the offense was at fault but not Niemi.
I'll bite. Niemi's lack of rebound control and overall lack of ability to make up for Sharks' mistakes this year forced the Sharks to play a style that was not conducive to allowing the Sharks to break out on odd man rushes, or even get good starts through the neutral zone. We'd be so focused on clearing his rebounds to a less dangerous area that we'd rarely have forwards in a dangerous position. When every offensive chance has to be manufactured from even or man-down rushes the offense will suffer drastically. Not to say he's the only problem, but I really feel like he hamstrings our ability to put our players in good positions.

As for his goaltending in general, when his most optimistic supporters go with the "well he didn't lose it for us" defense, that's when you know a change is needed. He is an adequate 5 on 5 goalie despite his rebound issues, but once we get into PK situations those rebounds become more dangerous due to the player advantage. It's more likely that the rebound goes to the team with 5. This causes the Sharks to have to change from an aggressive PK to a prevent the rebounds at all costs PK.

I'd rather go in with Stalock/Greiss only because of the salary differential that can go towards helping the other facets of the team. I'd really rather go Vokoun or Harding.

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04-24-2012, 07:14 PM
  #36
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Originally Posted by SnarkAttack View Post
I'll bite. Niemi's lack of rebound control and overall lack of ability to make up for Sharks' mistakes this year forced the Sharks to play a style that was not conducive to allowing the Sharks to break out on odd man rushes, or even get good starts through the neutral zone. We'd be so focused on clearing his rebounds to a less dangerous area that we'd rarely have forwards in a dangerous position. When every offensive chance has to be manufactured from even or man-down rushes the offense will suffer drastically. Not to say he's the only problem, but I really feel like he hamstrings our ability to put our players in good positions.

As for his goaltending in general, when his most optimistic supporters go with the "well he didn't lose it for us" defense, that's when you know a change is needed. He is an adequate 5 on 5 goalie despite his rebound issues, but once we get into PK situations those rebounds become more dangerous due to the player advantage. It's more likely that the rebound goes to the team with 5. This causes the Sharks to have to change from an aggressive PK to a prevent the rebounds at all costs PK.

I'd rather go in with Stalock/Greiss only because of the salary differential that can go towards helping the other facets of the team. I'd really rather go Vokoun or Harding.
Thank you, saved me a lot of time. I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees this. When our team gets smashed in the d zone, they get the puck out barely and everyone has to go for a change, then the one forward left has no choice to dump it and hustle off across the ice for a change, delaying his replacement from joining the play.

On the PK the inability to hold pucks is key as well, as it is a time-proven strategy to hold the puck, get a faceoff, win it and clear. A good faceoff team like ours is perfect for that.


Last edited by Phu: 04-24-2012 at 07:20 PM.
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Old
04-24-2012, 07:27 PM
  #37
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heh. more like the anti Niemi Appreciation Thread.
We have a winner!!!!

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Old
04-24-2012, 07:28 PM
  #38
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I like Nemo but I'd still rather have Nabokov.

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04-24-2012, 07:31 PM
  #39
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True. We can trade him to Toronto, they seem desperate for a starter, unfortunately it's what's coming back that concerns me if we're doing this
I would take pretty much whatever they can offer us in picks and a good prospect. We could either sign Harding or put in an offer sheet on Schneider. Unfortunately, it's going to be hard to get another goalie because of how Nitty was treated.

I actually liked Niemi until this post season. I think it was more of our defense that hurt Nemo but he did let in some super soft goals.

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04-24-2012, 08:33 PM
  #40
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Originally Posted by SnarkAttack View Post
I'll bite. Niemi's lack of rebound control and overall lack of ability to make up for Sharks' mistakes this year forced the Sharks to play a style that was not conducive to allowing the Sharks to break out on odd man rushes, or even get good starts through the neutral zone. We'd be so focused on clearing his rebounds to a less dangerous area that we'd rarely have forwards in a dangerous position. When every offensive chance has to be manufactured from even or man-down rushes the offense will suffer drastically. Not to say he's the only problem, but I really feel like he hamstrings our ability to put our players in good positions.

As for his goaltending in general, when his most optimistic supporters go with the "well he didn't lose it for us" defense, that's when you know a change is needed. He is an adequate 5 on 5 goalie despite his rebound issues, but once we get into PK situations those rebounds become more dangerous due to the player advantage. It's more likely that the rebound goes to the team with 5. This causes the Sharks to have to change from an aggressive PK to a prevent the rebounds at all costs PK.

I'd rather go in with Stalock/Greiss only because of the salary differential that can go towards helping the other facets of the team. I'd really rather go Vokoun or Harding.
chicago didnt seem to have a problem with his "style" of play... guess that's why they have a cup, huh...

niemi does give up poor rebounds that require the team to play in better position, but it's the style that worked for chicago and they were more than happy with the cup that he won for them... each goalie plays a certain "style". niemi plays low to his pads which is why he has so many kick save rebounds. his play isn't what lost us the series against the blues...

let's not forget that he stole the series from the sharks the year chicago won it all... purely dominant

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04-24-2012, 08:51 PM
  #41
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Originally Posted by thrillermiller89 View Post
chicago didnt seem to have a problem with his "style" of play... guess that's why they have a cup, huh...

niemi does give up poor rebounds that require the team to play in better position, but it's the style that worked for chicago and they were more than happy with the cup that he won for them... each goalie plays a certain "style". niemi plays low to his pads which is why he has so many kick save rebounds. his play isn't what lost us the series against the blues...

let's not forget that he stole the series from the sharks the year chicago won it all... purely dominant
Let's also not forget that the Chicago team was one of the most talented, fast, and complete teams in years. Niemi did great against us during that series, but for the playoffs as a whole had a 2.63 GAA and a .910 sv%. Last year Niemi had a 3.22 GAA and an .896 sv%.

I'm not judging a player by one playoff series, and a team that allowed him to win a cup. I'm judging him based on everything he's done as a Shark but the last 1/3rd of last year where he was admittedly good.

This year Niemi had a decent series, not great. He didn't lose the series, but he didn't win it either. He DID, however, prevent us from winning the division and facing a team we had a remote chance against in the 1st round.

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04-25-2012, 10:34 AM
  #42
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Originally Posted by SnarkAttack View Post
Let's also not forget that the Chicago team was one of the most talented, fast, and complete teams in years. Niemi did great against us during that series, but for the playoffs as a whole had a 2.63 GAA and a .910 sv%. Last year Niemi had a 3.22 GAA and an .896 sv%.

I'm not judging a player by one playoff series, and a team that allowed him to win a cup. I'm judging him based on everything he's done as a Shark but the last 1/3rd of last year where he was admittedly good.

This year Niemi had a decent series, not great. He didn't lose the series, but he didn't win it either. He DID, however, prevent us from winning the division and facing a team we had a remote chance against in the 1st round.
i guess im not one to place blame on one person for an entire team's faults...

i understand nemo can be streaky, but when he was playing like crap the whole team was playing like crap and the coaches did nothing about it.

Also, dont forget niemi's stats from last year's playoffs were a product of playing against powerhouse offenses like LA, Detroit, and then Vancouver.

And as far as his stats in this year's playoffs, the only game where his sv% was lower than .906 was the atrocious game 3 debacle where we gave up a slew of PP goals. His playoff sv% this year was a respectable .914 and the only reason it isn't higher is because of the reason I stated prior.

We can disagree about nemo all day, but the fact is he didnt lose us this series, nor is he the only one to blame for our struggles during the regular season. And it sounds as if you're trying to place full blame on the guy, and that's simply preposterous.

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04-25-2012, 10:36 AM
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnarkAttack View Post
I'll bite. Niemi's lack of rebound control and overall lack of ability to make up for Sharks' mistakes this year forced the Sharks to play a style that was not conducive to allowing the Sharks to break out on odd man rushes, or even get good starts through the neutral zone. We'd be so focused on clearing his rebounds to a less dangerous area that we'd rarely have forwards in a dangerous position. When every offensive chance has to be manufactured from even or man-down rushes the offense will suffer drastically. Not to say he's the only problem, but I really feel like he hamstrings our ability to put our players in good positions.
And not just clearing his rebounds, but blocking the initial shots, too.

Remember, if an opponent can take a shot from anywhere inside the faceoff circles and get it on target off the ice.....it was going in. So that means you desperately need to block shots. If you have to protect the middle of the ice, AND block shots, AND be ready to clear rebounds.....that cuts down the ability of the Sharks defenders to attack the puck, create turnovers, and get out of the zone quickly.

Chicago was able to do it because Chicago had extremely fast players who also were extremely positionally sound. They could attack the points and along the boards (like St. Louis did in this series), but without sacrificing much positionally. If the puck was passed around, Chicago & StL were good at attacking, recovering, and resetting their defense properly. San Jose is not. You'd see it even moreso on the PK. A couple of passes around the point and two guys would attack the puck instead of just one, often leaving a 3-on-2 or a 4-on-2 down low (or even worse). Assignments would get missed. Wide gaps would be left open. Players who pressed would be slow in recovering. And so it looked like they were all just running around. Chicago would either force a turnover, corral a rebound, and then one pass and they were out of the zone for an offensive rush. The Sharks this year would regularly need 3 attempts to clear the zone. That means more time spent in the zone, which means more player fatigue, which makes it even harder to get out of the zone.

When you have the best faceoff team in the league, you want puck stoppages in your D zone to recover and gain control of the puck. When you can't control the puck, when you constantly run around, it tires out your defense to the point that, when you do clear the zone, you have nothing left for an offensive push. You just have to dump & change. And then the opponent regains the puck and cycles your next line even more.

So that is the effect it can have on an offense. It's not an extremely powerful correlation, but it plays into it.

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Old
04-25-2012, 10:41 AM
  #44
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i could've sworn this was an appreciation thread...

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04-25-2012, 10:53 AM
  #45
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It also comes back to what SJEasy was talking about in another thread. The Sharks system. The Sharks have built their offensive personnel around being a puck possession team.....but their goaltender and defense can't get them the puck. In the D zone, they run around and tire themselves out. They collapse down to support the defense, they win control of the puck in the D corner......but the blue line is still 40-50 feet away and there's 3 opponents between it and the puck carrier, so the threat of turnover is high, and now you've got to fight even harder to get the puck back, except now you're even more tired and out of position.

They want their defense to be a transitional threat, but they don't have enough of the personnel for that. Burns with Boyle was supposed to be the catalyst for that (fast d-man, good with the puck, one pass out of the zone), but he couldn't provide that this year. Too many turnovers. How much of that is on Burns or the lack of speed and defensive positioning/offensive transitional support from his linemate or the others on the ice, I'm not sure. It's hard to qualify.

But even when the quick rush out of the zone would work to spring a transitional rush (2-on-1, 2-on-2, 3-on-2, or 3-on-3), as soon as JT or Clowe or other puck possession forwards hit the offensive blue line......peel off to the half boards, and wait for everyone else to catch up.....including the trailing defenders.

You build your defensive team around creating odd-man rushes off of fast transitions. You don't have all the best personnel for that, so more times than not, you just get trapped in your own zone. But then when it finally does work to create the odd-man rush you were working so hard for......there's Clowe drilling a shot into someone's shin guards, puck leaves the zone......there's Pavelski pumping a shot from the faceoff circle into the middle of the goalie's chest protector for an easy save and catch instead of shooting along the ice to create a rebound with a man crashing the net (except Marleau isn't crashing the net because he slowed down looking for a pass)......and then there's Thornton just killing rush after rush all by himself because he'd usually rather just set up the zone offense along the boards rather than try to push the pace, challenge the defenders, and drive the net.


ETA: ^^^ Or as Drew Remenda would say.....bad "puck luck"

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04-25-2012, 11:11 AM
  #46
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I will say this much for Niemi......he has gotten better.

He is making more saves on the high shots now than ever before. That one glove/leg pad stop he made in Game 4 on the cross ice pass that was pegged for the top corner......that was excellent. It's a save he doesn't make. It's a save he never makes. He never makes it because he's usually already down on the ice......and usually before that pass is even made. He has gotten a little better about staying on his feet longer, playing towards the edge of his crease more, and stopping some of the higher shots. Still not good, but better than he was. Hopefully he will continue to improve.

I will also say, I am very pleased with his abilities on the 1-on-none breakaways and penalty shots. He is generally excellent on shots along the ice, both shots and dekes. He rarely gets deked out of his pads, never bites too hard on fakes, and is usually always in position to make some kind of a save (as opposed to leaving a wide open net). And surprisingly, he seems to always drop down at the right time to take away the lower half, but without giving up the top half. Very good on breakaways. And it's a big part of why the Sharks are winning a lot of shootouts now.

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04-25-2012, 11:12 AM
  #47
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Also Niemi has got to be the worst puck handling goalie in the league. How many times this season did he throw the puck into pressure when there was a defenseman who had no forecheckers within 50 feet. Niemi allways decided to make the worst decesion when passing the puck from behind the net.

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04-25-2012, 11:16 AM
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thrillermiller89 View Post
i guess im not one to place blame on one person for an entire team's faults...
It is a team sport, but the goalie is really the only single person (beyond some extraordinary play, good or bad, by skaters) that can win and lose games for a team. Even if a team is playing bad, a good goalie can keep the team in those games, and even steal some games. A goalie who played like Niemi this year, on the other hand, single-handedly lost some games.

The games that Niemi let in multiple soft goals, and there were far to many for a starting goaltender on a contending team, caused us to lose the division. Could we have overcome him if the whole team was playing great? Yes. Should the point of a team be play great to overcome your goalie's weaknesses? No. I think that's what we had to try to become many times this season.

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04-25-2012, 11:53 AM
  #49
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The games that Niemi let in multiple soft goals, and there were far to many for a starting goaltender on a contending team, caused us to lose the division. Could we have overcome him if the whole team was playing great? Yes. Should the point of a team be play great to overcome your goalie's weaknesses? No. I think that's what we had to try to become many times this season.
I mostly agree with this. In the Jenga tower that was the Sharks season, he was one of the missing pieces that led to the fall. He may not have been the only missing piece, and sure, the team probably could've withstood his weaknesses alone, but the fact that he did weaken the entire unit ultimately led to the collapse.

I will say though that I'm not as harsh on soft goals as some. Every goalie has them. And what a lot of people think are soft goals really aren't.

My personal policy is that I'm okay with giving up a "soft" goal as long as you give me at least two or more outstanding saves to go with it. Every goalie is going to have pucks that just take bad bounces off him. Every goalie is just going to miss a puck or two from time to time. I can tolerate that more if you give me something else. Goalies are human. They're going to make mistakes. So I have a hard time being too harsh with someone who bails out their teammates on one mistake after another after another after another....and then when he finally makes one of his own, and suddenly everybody comes calling for the goalie's head. That's neither fair nor smart. So I'm willing to allow goalies to give up goals they shouldn't, provided that they make even more saves that they shouldn't.

But if you are giving up those goals AND you aren't providing high value on the other end of the ledger? That's where it's a problem. And that's one of my problems with Niemi. He doesn't provide enough of that high end quality on the other side. He doesn't make enough phenomenal saves to justify the bad goals.

You can even see it in the in-game highlight reels. They'll show Tim Thomas making a head long diving save on the goal line. Pekka Rinne, flashing the glove on a one-timer heading for the top corner. And then they cut to Niemi......catching a puck in his midsection on a bad angle shot from near the corner boards. Or Douglas Murray blocking a slapshot. If your own team's highlight reel for their own goaltender in his own arena consists of his defender making a diving block for him.....that's when you know your goalie isn't good.

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04-25-2012, 12:02 PM
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thrillermiller89 View Post
I'm not so much Anti Niemi as I am Pro Niemi

<3 niemi, and for 3.8 mil, he's a steal... kept us in most games all year and kept us alive for much of the blues series.... you cant blame niemi when teams get PP chances so often
Two problems with this.

1) It's not a steal when you're paying $3.8 mil to someone (Niemi) when you could probably get that same or close to same level of production from any one of a multitude of other players (Greiss, Stalock, Sexmith) for 1/7th of the cost.

2) What do you mean by "when teams get PP chances so often"

The 225 power play opportunities against the Sharks this year were not only the fewest opportunities allowed by any team in the league.......they were the fewest opportunities allowed in a single season by any team in more than a decade (and probably even much longer, but I didn't check back further than that). And it wasn't even close.

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