Writer’s Round Table!

April 21, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi (31) makes a save against the St. Louis Blues during the first period in game 5 of the 2012 Western Conference quarterfinals at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

Well Sharks fans, here we are in our off-season. Still a lot of hockey left to be played by many other teams out there, just not ours. So what do we do as Team Teal loyal to occupy our time? Simple answer, we discuss, watch, wait, and listen. We here at Blades of Teal have a diverse set of writers with diverse opinions on the Sharks and we love sharing that with you! So we are asking you to contribute questions to our writing staff for our new feature, “Writer’s Round Table!” We will give you each our perspectives on your questions! Feel free to ask us on our facebook page (CLICK HERE FOR FB) or on our twitter (CLICK HERE FOR TWITTER) or you can email the editor at [email protected] . Let’s get some discussion going and have some creative, constructive fun!

Our first question comes to us from Facebook! Devin asks a simple, yet complicated question: Antti Niemi, in or out?

Erik answers concisely but rounds it out with a thought provoking question of his own:

“Gotta keep him, unless there is a deal that you can’t pass up.  ARE Greiss and Stalock ready for the pressure to lead a team to the Cup?  They better be.”

KingShark throws in his two cents (and a bacon flavored milkshake to seal the answer):

“Antti Niemi – Out.
 It was not Niemi’s fault that the Sharks got knocked out of the playoffs this year or last year. Niemi has a Stanley Cup ring from his time in Chicago two years ago. You could even argue Niemi earned “combat pay” (excuse the term) through much of the later half of the season and post season. However, Niemi was almost dealt to Philly before the February 27th trade deadline and if the Sharks were willing to even comptemplate that, I would say maybe it’s time to move him especially since he has value. He’s probably the most tradable piece for the Sharks and if they are going to get a good return, he’d have to be part of the deal in exchange for maybe another vet goalie or forward and defenseman…”
Gordon is in on our little Round Table today and his answer is straight forward and insightful:
“In, but not full time.  Bringing in Niemi and Niittymaki was supposed to give the Sharks an edge in the post-season, but I feel they hindered Greiss’ progress to starting goalie.  He needs to be given more chances, specifically more starts, to be able to show his mettle and ability to perform in high pressure situations.  Niemi is good (winning the cup is proof enough), but Doug Wilson got him so we would have a goalie who is proven to be able to go the distance in the playoffs.  Whereas it was a sound acquisition, I feel that Greiss should play a more prominent role in the next season.  It’s the last of his current contract, and he needs to be given an equal chance to prove his worth for the franchise’s future.”
My personal opinion I left for last. Most of the people who sit next to me at Sharks games hear my anxiety as I watch Niemi skating towards that net. I have confidence in parts of his play, but feel he is a weak skater lacking balance. The other thing that kills me about Niemi is that game after game he is predictably weak on top shelf left…well, top shelf in general really. He plays low and he plays great there. He’s tough to beat on that level and I generally am not nervous in a shoot out with him…unless the skater going against him has a solid wrister that can go top shelf every time. The problem for me is that he just makes me so nervous I lose confidence in the overall team structure. I like Griess and I think Stalock is the next big thing. But if the Sharks really want to come out of building mode and really go after that cup, Niemi will have to be replaced by a more consistent tendy. So Niemi, I’m sorry bud, out unless those top shelf and balance deficiencies are corrected.
If you’d like to weigh in leave a comment below or comment on facebook! We’d love to hear your opinions as well! Be sure to ask questions! Thanks fans!
~ALH

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