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Hawks Get The Win, Niemi Gets The Belt

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

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Tuesday night Antti Niemi earned his sixth shutout of the year, leading the Blackhawks to a 2-0 victory over the Coyotes. The win gives the Hawks sole possession of the top spot in the Western Conference, with 99 points.

Perhaps even more exciting than Niemi's solid performance between the pipes? The championship boxing belt "The Finnish Fortress" received after the game.

Chris Kuc of the Tribune writes:

The belt was courtesy of defenseman Brent Seabrook, who purchased it while the Hawks were in Glendale, Ariz., over the weekend.

"It's a team prize," said Niemi, who made 28 saves to help the Hawks take a two-point lead over the Coyotes and one over the Sharks in the conference. "The team chooses every winning game the hardest working (player). It's a little bit new. It feels good."

The goal may be to pass the belt around to a different player every game, but I, for one, would be happy to see Niemi take it home every night if his play warrants it. The Hawks have a few things to work on, their defensive consistency and power play efficiency being two big ones, but nothing is more important to this team than solid goalie play.  

When asked on Tuesday whether he had picked a playoff goaltender yet, Joel Quenneville said the position was still up in the air and that Cristobal Huet, out since March 13 with the flu, would get the chance to play before the postseason.

I'm of the opinion--and have been for awhile--that Quenneville needs to put his money on Niemi and give the young player as many starts as possible before the playoffs start. His lack of experience is the only thing keeping him from getting the official nod, so why not give him as much time between the pipes as possible.

As for the belt? Well, when it comes to shutouts, I don't care what inspires Niemi. If it's a boxing belt, so be it. Heck, if The Finnish Fortress wants to get down for a tiara and a beauty pageant sash, that's cool too. We just might have to change his nickname...

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3 Comments

Dean said:

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Niemi might get the belt, but unfortunately Huet gets the $$$$ to sit and watch.

MichSoxHawk said:

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Last nights game is a birthday gift a girl dreams of, wait I am going a bit over board, but the win and some Stella's made my night...

Love that picture!

MichSoxHawk said:

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Last nights game is a birthday gift a girl dreams of, wait I am going a bit over board, but the win and some Stella's made my night...

Love that picture!

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