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12-07-2003, 09:13 PM
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19
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Thoughts on Niinimaa

Hello Oiler fans. Islanders fan here who wants to get your feedback on J. Niinimaa.

This guy came to the NY Isles with a lot of fanfare and build up and a good reputation. To me he's been a complete bust who coughs up the puck often, is out of position a lot, lets forwards breeze by him as he appears to be weak and generally has been a huge disappointment so far on the Island.

What was the book on him while he was in Edmonton? What did he do to deserve such a glowing reputation? WHAT WERE HIS STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESS WHILE ON THE OILERS?


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12-07-2003, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 19
Hello Oiler fans. Islanders fan here who wants to get your feedback on J. Niinimaa.

This guy came to the NY Isles with a lot of fanfare and build up and a good reputation. To me he's been a complete bust who coughs up the puck often, is out of position a lot, lets forwards breeze by him as he appears to be weak and generally has been a huge disappointment so far on the Island.

What was the book on him while he was in Edmonton? What did he do to deserve such a glowing reputation? WHAT WERE HIS STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESS WHILE ON THE OILERS?


-19
This is just my opinion but the biggest thing Niinimaa brought was heart. He worked like a dog in Edmonton and would do anything to help the team. During his early years in Edmonton, he really struggled coughing up the puck constantly, enough so to earn the nickname Spaz.

But in the last few years, he developed into a bonafide #1 dman. He played a ton, in all situations. He wasn't a great offensive threat, wasn't the most physical player, but he did everything well. Plus he wore his heart on his sleeve.

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12-08-2003, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by 19
To me he's been a complete bust who coughs up the puck often, is out of position a lot, lets forwards breeze by him as he appears to be weak and generally has been a huge disappointment so far on the Island.
Here lies my opinion.

The book on Niinimaa has always been that he's prone to couging up the puck and the odd boneheaded play under pressure. His nick was "spaz", in case this is news to you. Many people credit him for losing a particular playoff series.

He had slowly worked these tendancies out of his system. In the meantime, he became a great player at sacrificing the body and going to areas where he knew he would be hit, but where he could make the play. For this reason many were sad to see him go. Actually, lots of Oilers fans were very sad to see him go. Heck, I've heard people wanting him back. He was a great quote from the dressing room and many fans appreciated his frank, humble, workman-like demeanor. At one point, popular opinion was he was the best D here and I think some people even called him MVP. Although he was awful handling the puck at the blue line on the PP, I'm pretty sure he was our best PP D (production) much of the time he was here.

I don't know how his knee and back are doing, but they appeared to be the reason that the best aspects of Niinimaa's game disappeared 1/4 the way through his last season here. The spaz doppelganger resurfaced again. Without the aggressive physical play, he fell well out of the #1 D man role. I have believed to this day that Lowe felt he needed to move Niinimaa because his best was already past, or was likely to be so because of health reasons. Maybe that's not the case (I really don't know) but it wouldn't surprise me.

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12-08-2003, 03:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 19
This guy came to the NY Isles with a lot of fanfare and build up and a good reputation. To me he's been a complete bust who coughs up the puck often, is out of position a lot, lets forwards breeze by him as he appears to be weak and generally has been a huge disappointment so far on the Island.

What was the book on him while he was in Edmonton? What did he do to deserve such a glowing reputation? WHAT WERE HIS STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESS WHILE ON THE OILERS?
Frankly, the breezing by bit would surprise me. While an Oiler, he was fairly adept at catching guys on the boards with a nice hip check. Are they breezing by because he's not forcing them to the outside and thus in a position to pinch them off the puck, or are they breezing by because he's weak on the boards? If the latter, that's fairly new to his game - he was never really weak, he's not a small guy.

Coughing up pucks - well, as others have said, he earned the Spaz moniker, and if he's not feeling comfortable, I can easily see that returning. Still, in Edmonton, he was playing well enough to easily be a #2 on any team in the league, I think, and a #1 on many of them.

His other strengths were puck movement - hey, even when he was passing to the wrong team, they were *good* passes - and skating, of course (hey, he was an Oiler that Slats traded to get, need I even say that?). He was a pretty decent offensive defenceman, and looking at his stats, it looks like that's still there - he's on pace for 30 points, a bit below his Oilers average but not much, and there he has to share time with Aucoin and Hamrlik.

Being just even on the +/- scale isn't like him at all though. Of course, his last year in Edmonton was un-Jannelike too, but he was playing hurt. He had a history of back spasms and some knee problems, are those still following him?

(Edit: I see I just recapped some of what oilswell said, oh well.)

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12-08-2003, 06:05 AM
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Ya, He was my favorite Oiler, and when the traded him I was VERY VERY disapointed to see him go (although I was pleased with the return). From the games that I've seen, he looks very uncomfertable in Long Island. I mean who wouldn't be? The whole team is! Quite the transition from the tightest and best dressing room in the league to the most disfunctional. But ya, Niinimaa is looking ALOT like he did last year at times.... his back and knee, I think, still aren't very good.

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12-08-2003, 08:38 AM
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another rumoured reason to why Lowe traded him was because Janne was due for surgery and that meant a possible loss of play from Janne for about 6-8months starting in the summer. When i mean 6-8 i mean to say that he'd have had his surgery and returned to the lineup but playing poor. If indeed he has had his surgery that he was scheduled to in the summer then he should be back to himself come playoff time.

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12-08-2003, 09:43 AM
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I think that Niinimaa was a great dman - back in the day, but like everyone else on this thread has commented, he was injured for a while, and would not commit, and play the body. This is why I think he got traded. He always had a winning attitude, but not surprisingly has had trouble pulling it all togeather when he was injured.I think that Janne has still got a couple of solid years in him. If Janne is healthy and gets the ice time, expect him to shiine.

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12-08-2003, 09:49 AM
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Despite the nickname, Niinimaa was actually a calming influence on the blueline, particularly Brewer, who is really struggling without him around. Brewer needs a strong partner to play with and no disrespect to the current Oilers D, none of the are it.

As for Janne himself, he is a pretty high-maintenance guy from what I remember, and like a Brisebois, really, really struggles when he tries to do too much. When a coach can lower expectations for him and clearly define a role for him and ask him to do no more or less that the role requires he plays well. But with Hmrlik, Aucoin and Jonnsson I think part of the problem is that Niinimaa doesn't know just where he fits. As a result of that and lower icetime playing behind those guys, his confidence is low and he is trying to do too much again.

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12-08-2003, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oilman01
I think that Niinimaa was a great dman - back in the day, but like everyone else on this thread has commented, he was injured for a while, and would not commit, and play the body.
A big part of that was that he just COULD not do the things you were talking about. It's quite the amazing feat he played throughout the entire season with his knee as bad as it was. I thought the Oilers should have told him to sit down and have the surgery after it happened.. but we desperately needed his influence on the blueline. And Janne wasn't about to step away from the team when they needed him...

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12-08-2003, 11:36 AM
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Walsher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilswell
Here lies my opinion.

The book on Niinimaa has always been that he's prone to couging up the puck and the odd boneheaded play under pressure. His nick was "spaz", in case this is news to you. Many people credit him for losing a particular playoff series.
Many people (Like myself) also considered him to be the best Oiler on the ice in that series. It was his first partial season in Edmonton and he was hardly the result of the playoff exit. A bad pass when all of his team mates decided to change when the puck was in the defensive zone. Niniimaa is an awesome player. Hopefully he is playing bad so that the Oilers can somehow coral him back. He adds everything a winning team needs from a top end d-man.

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12-08-2003, 11:40 AM
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there are three real bad injuries in hockey - concussion, back ,and knees. Janne has two of the three. He is a warrior who will play through a lot of pain but his play suffers. That is probably what you are seeing right now. Infortunately, he is arb elligable after this year and is in line for a 4-5 mill salary.

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12-08-2003, 12:18 PM
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Infortunately, he is arb elligable after this year and is in line for a 4-5 mill salary.
If an arbitrator gives that much to him, watch the Islanders let him go the same way Boston did with Berard. Just a hunch.

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12-08-2003, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Walsher
Many people (Like myself) also considered him to be the best Oiler on the ice in that series. It was his first partial season in Edmonton and he was hardly the result of the playoff exit. A bad pass when all of his team mates decided to change when the puck was in the defensive zone. Niniimaa is an awesome player. Hopefully he is playing bad so that the Oilers can somehow coral him back. He adds everything a winning team needs from a top end d-man.
ughh..i remember when Hogue interscepted that high clear and Scored... i destroyed a perfectly good tv screen with a perfectly good tv remote...

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12-13-2003, 12:02 AM
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Thanks for the input.

-19

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Old
12-13-2003, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by rabi_sultan
another rumoured reason to why Lowe traded him was because Janne was due for surgery and that meant a possible loss of play from Janne for about 6-8months starting in the summer. When i mean 6-8 i mean to say that he'd have had his surgery and returned to the lineup but playing poor. If indeed he has had his surgery that he was scheduled to in the summer then he should be back to himself come playoff time.
Just to expand on that. His back is a walking time bomb, the trainers were constantly working on it and this may limit what he can do physically.

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