Huet hands Red Wings two points

I’ve been holding back my opinion of the Hawks trade deadline since Wednesday.  I knew I was overly emotional about it, and didn’t want to say something in anger I didn’t truly believe.

I had told everyone who listened that no matter what the organization said, they were pursuing a goaltender.  I was confident they were AWARE of their biggest weakness, and would do what was necessary, within reason, to improve the situation.

Well, the company line was that they didn’t try.  Scotty Bowman told Toronto’s Fan 590 that, “(Hawks management) is actually laughing at (the rumors of a goalie).”  The day after the deadline, Hawks GM Stan Bowman told the Score’s Danny Mac Show that improving the goalie situation has, “…never been a focus of our group here.” 

Fine.  If that’s the company line the Hawks want to feed us, then I will blast it accordingly.  Here goes.

niemiwings.jpg

Antti Niemi played well vs Detroit

So the Hawks management team, in their infinite wisdom, didn’t see a need for goaltending.  Cristobal Huet has been trash since signing here last season, and now all of the pressure is going to fall on a rookie goalie in Antti Niemi.  How they didn’t see the need that Joe Bandwagon from Lincoln Park could see from his posh seats is beyond me.  It’s been the one GLARING weakness of the team all season.  When they lose a game, it’s typically because of a soft goal or two.  Today, it was four soft goals. 

Huet continually takes bad angles, recovers slowly, over commits, and has one of the worst glove hands in the NHL.  If Bowman and company feel as comfortable in the goalies as they claim, then we have a huge problem. 

This weakness in goal could very likely cost the Blackhawks, who are otherwise the best team in hockey, the Stanley Cup.  Huet is not capable of making the routine save…let alone the big one.  His teammates can defend him all they want, but when they’ve worked themselves to a 2-0 lead against their main rival, 4 soft goals in the 2nd period deflate them.  When you don’t trust your goalie, you play on your heels, terrified to make a mistake.  The Hawks are a team that is at their best when they attack.  Huet is taking that instinct away.

If Antti Niemi doesn’t play 80% of the remaining games this season, I would be shocked.  Joel Quenneville KNOWS what he has in Huet.  It’s time for Niemi to show what he has over a long stretch.  Remember, another goalie isn’t an option like it was last week.  That opportunity has passed, while the management group laughed. 

Hopefully, we won’t be crying in June.   

 

Comments

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  • You're wrong.
    Their winning record speaks for itself.
    Today's loss was a 'gift' from the officials, not Huet.

    What a way to support your team, you fricken douchetard!

  • In reply to GoonSquad:

    their winning record is courtesy of having a great offense and solid defense, they win in spite of not because of their goaltending. In the playoffs , you just cant let in as many soft goals as Huet does, scoring is hard enough to come by then. He's giving up 3 goals a game on most nights when the Hawks allow maybe 20 shots total. Do you really trust him to make a big save when the D needs to be bailed out??

  • In reply to GoonSquad:

    And please lets not become Vancouver fans and blame the refs everytime the team loses, they were still up 2 goals after that blown call. Was a letdown by everyone on the team after that, they need to play through that when it happens. A couple big saves when they needed them wouldve been nice.

  • In reply to GoonSquad:

    I completely agree. Huet is terrible. I visualize a sad scenario come April when we lose in the first round to a surging team like Detroit. Huet gives up so many soft goals. At least Niemi (In General) gets beaten on better scoring chances. Niemi needs to get the number 1 position and actually be allowed to roll with it. I feel like Q is so harsh on him. Niemi lets 3 goals go in and he is off the ice and can't play again until Huet screws up. He needs to be allowed to consistently start, even if he has a bad game here and there.

  • In reply to GoonSquad:

    Goon Squad is a moron. "The lack of scoring"? Pretty sure the Hawks' last 3 games have been 4, 5, and 5 goal efforts.

    Huet has a complete inability to stand up to adversity and hold his team together.

    Almost any goal in the history of the NHL could be pointed back to a mishap by a forward or a defenseman. A goalie has to be able to shut the door once in a while.

  • In reply to Jtalarico328:

    Sure, there are other factors involved, defensive breakdown, communication failures, off night for a goalie, but when the team is capable of producing more goals than the opposition, but don't, it's a loss due to a lack of scoring, you idiot fuck!

  • In reply to GoonSquad:

    Jay,

    Though I agree Huet is not a great goaltender, how can you blame him for goals 2 through 4? Goal #2 had Bertuzzi standing all alone right in front of Huet. No way Huet sees that. Why is Seabrook just standing there. Hit Bertuzzi!! Goal #3 was a great pass from Zetterberg. Though Huet did stray far out of the net, where was the defense. Goal #4 was basically a break away. Okay, yes you need the goalie to make a big save evry now and then, but the Hawks were giving up way too many odd man breaks in that period.

    Saying that goal tending is the Hawks only issue is really turning a blind eye to some other issues that will come to the fore front once the playoffs begin and the Hawks face good teams night in and night out.

    First off is the awful turnovers at the opponents blue line by the Hawk Forwards. According to the stat sheet I saw, Kane had 0 giveaways. That is horse bleep. I remember at least three blatant turnovers by Kane at the blue line the biggest of which Datsyuk scored that fifth goal of the period on. Kane had an awful game and was shown to be the very one dimensional player he is. Dastyuk and the rest of the gang schooled him most of that game and will continue to do so should they meet in the playoffs. I would not have signed this guy to a long term contract. BTW, he is not even very explosive compared to some of the other guys in the league.

    Look at the Hawk goals- first goal hit the pad of the Wing Dman, goal #2 was scored when Filipula made a perfect pass to Ladd in the slot. Goal #4 hit the shaft of LAdd's stick. Totally lucky.

    Other then late in the third, the Hawks did not generate near enough offense. Don't let this other stuff fool you. Things will be coming to a head come playoff time and the Hawks will be going home early.

    Just watch.

  • In reply to kmzjr1969:

    You're going on a Kane bashing expedition? Really?

    Kane was robbed of a goal by the refs and nearly scored another in the 1st. And Datsyuk leads the NHL in takeaways by a mile. His blocking of Kane's shot was not exactly shocking. The period was nearly over so Kane tried to flip the puck towards the net from the point. Simply bad luck that it deflected perfectly for Datsyuk and that no Hawk defenseman was within ten feet of the line.

  • In reply to borg:

    They're not true fans if the Hawks winning record is being picked apart by 'em...

  • In reply to GoonSquad:

    They arent bandwagon know-nothings like you either! Everything you write is like a 13 year old boy with his fingers in his ears screaming "la la la, I cant hear you, la la la" Get some perspective and a clue--

    You really have a short sighted view of your team-If fans cant recognize their teams short comings without being considered disloyal by you, then you're an idiot.

    Chicago's problem is goaltending. They WILL NOT WIN THE CUP THIS YEAR BECAUSE OF IT! Do you REALLY think they can win it with either of them??? I mean seriously!?!? Neither have ever even won a playoff series before... and they are just gonna take it to Lord Stanley's House?? I do think so!

    But dont worry- Rocky wants a winner and you guys are only a piece or two and a couple of years from a REAL run.

    Hang in there

    The Wings had to do a lot of losing and tweaking before dominating the NHL!

  • In reply to matto:

    Like I dominated your mom?
    That's right. I'm your daddy.

  • In reply to GoonSquad:

    Goon Squad: Thanks for bringing the overall intelligence of the interwebs. When you disagree with someone, you resort to namecalling and personal insults? Solid. Too bad you can't post in crayon. I don't think 6 goals and 4 goals in the last two games is a lack of scoring. Thanks for reading.

  • In reply to JayZawaski:

    Yes, Nacho Boy, I do.
    It seems to work just fine for you, John Doosharico and OneGirl-11Cups.
    I suppose the Hawks winning record so far this season has NOTHING to do with their goaltending, as horrible as you all claim it to be, and EVERY loss is squarely on their shoulders...

  • In reply to GoonSquad:

    What the hell is wrong with nachos?

    They are delicious.

  • In reply to alexquigley:

    Yes they are, but should be eaten in moderation.

  • In reply to GoonSquad:

    Apparently my weight means my hockey opinion is void. I guess goon squad knows more than bob mckenzie, ken Hitchcock and other hockey fatties around the world.

  • In reply to JayZawaski:

    No no no.
    Fat girls need love too.
    I understand. Really. I do.
    You're opinion is void because you choose to beat down a winning team you claim to be a fan of.
    Why?
    These two goalies have done it all so far.
    The next test is the post season.
    Hell, even Khabby didn't get us to our final destination.
    There was no money left to pick up someone who doesn't come with a guarantee.
    Hell, even 2Cups main man flopped, and he's a "proven playoff goalie".
    What more do want from a team that is doing fine so far?
    Will you eat every negative word you wrote this season if these two horrible netminders take us to the Holy Grail?
    I know you have the room...

  • In reply to GoonSquad:

    @GoonSquad: Sportswriters are paid to be skeptical and nostalgic. Don't take it personally.

    It is possible that the Hawks can make a deep playoff run with a two-goalie system. Look at Manny Fernandez and Dwayne Roloson from the 2003 Stanley Cup playoffs. They made it to the Final Four using a two-goalie system, often riding the hot goalie depending on the situation and what players they were facing on a given night.

    @Jay: I don't mean to rain on your parade, Jay. I think you're doing an excellent job reporting on the Hawks, but can't you do some writing on the rest of the league? I know it'll take you off the beat, but the hockey fans on ChicagoNow probably don't own NHL Network and/or don't care about action around the league. I think reports on our next opponent are due. The LA Kings are wiping the floor with the Blue Jackets, a team who has given us a fight in every game the past two seasons.

  • In reply to satorajaujhely:

    Fuck.
    How about if he writes something concerning their WINNING record and their place in the standings?
    He'd rather play fantasy GM and dog 'em out!

    I think he's a closet Wanks fan...

  • In reply to satorajaujhely:

    I just got a chance to break down the DET goals in detail. You can't blame any one of them on either goalie:

    1. Terrible Seabrook screen;
    2. ANOTHER terrible Seabrook screen;
    3. Williams allowed to camp out in crease;
    4. Filppula allowed to walk in;
    5. Datsyuk allowed to skate 1-on-0.

    The defense has three jobs to do in their own end: 1. let the tender see the puck; 2. keep the crease clear; and 3. don't let anyone in the slot without paying the price. The Hawks defense failed in all three tasks. You can debate the wisdom of sticking with what they have in net all you want, but no one who knows the first thing about goaltending can blame Huet for giving away those two points.

  • In reply to ThatGuy:

    and when all those fail, your goalie is supposed to keep the puck out of the net, so he didnt do his job either.

  • In reply to badrogue17:

    What regular season #1 goaltender in the NHL has ever had a 1.000 save percentage? No goalie can make every save. Again, anyone who knows anything about goaltending can see that the goals Huet let in were not bad goals. Period.

  • In reply to ThatGuy:

    What it comes down to is that when the defense does make a mistake, a turnover, a breakaway, do you really think Huet can bail the team out when he has to?? I sure dont, hes not mantally tough at all and unless they allow zero shots on goal in the playoffs and play a perfect defensive game everytime out, theyre going to need need him to not only make the saves he should ( which he doesnt a lot of the time) but also to make the spectacular once in a while to bail the team out. I dont trust him to be able to do thatm and in his career he hasnt demonstrated an ability to do it either.

  • In reply to badrogue17:

    In his career he hasn't demonstrated an ability to do it either? The video archives say otherwise:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3A_zcvFyaE&feature=response_watch

  • In reply to ThatGuy:

    Dude you want me to you tube all the softies he's let in this year too?? We'll let th eseason play out anf if Huet is number 1 going into playoffs, we'll see how many games they win by him standing on his head, and how many they lose by him being soft, Ill place my bets on the latter.

  • In reply to satorajaujhely:

    Jay:
    You, of anyone, should know Bowman isn't being completely truthful when he says they're completely comfortable. Every indication was that StanBow attempted to upgrade at the goaltender position. If he didn't pull the trigger, I'm sure there are a myriad of reasons, beginning with the handcuffs he was wearing courtesy of Dale Tallon's July 1st, 2008 spending spree.

    That said, Huet CAN play well enough for this team to win a Stanley Cup. He's shown that he can play, and play well, in the past. The biggest issue is getting his confidence back. That is up to the coaching staff. If that can't be done, the wagon will be hitched to Niemi. Regardless, from game 1, we knew this team wasn't going to win a Cup on it's goaltending. The rest of the team needs to step it up.

  • In reply to Holes02:

    Chris- You are right about the Bowman's- Even if they were willing to give their right arms for a trade that didnt work out... you would never know about it.

    Im curious though- you said "Huet CAN play well enough for this team to win a Stanley Cup. He's shown that he can play, and play well, in the past." What past are you referring too and when did he ever play well enough to show you that he can carry the playoffs? One regular season game of brilliance doesnt mean ANYTHING- Why dont you look at his statistical past (With Washington/Montreal and last year) and tell me what in those numbers gives you such confidence.

    Lastly, you said " Regardless, from game 1, we knew this team wasn't going to win a Cup on it's goaltending. The rest of the team needs to step it up."

    First- NO team wins the Cup without having one of the top two or three goalies during a playoff run- Saying you think you can win it regardless of how good or not the goalie plays is total ignorance about the game and the playoffs as a whole-

    Second- The rest of the team needs to step it up??? Do you even know your team? They are second only to Washington in the NHL in goals per game average! What improvement are you looking for there? They have a better goals per game average than any team in the Western Conference and you think they need to just... step it up?

    Wow!

  • In reply to Holes02:

    @Chris:

    Huet CANNOT play well enough to win a Stanley Cup. If he's letting in 5 goals on 20 shots, we're definitely dropping some big games under pressure(read: every game is important in the playoffs).

    At least Habby had the experience, knowledge, and focus to bring us through a playoff run. Nashville, Detroit, LA, Vancouver and Anaheim all have the tools to bring us down in the STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS.

    When you're only facing 18-25 shots a game and letting in softies, the team has little options on who to blame -- and that's the goalie, for the most part.

    Coaches have always told me quality over quantity (in terms of shots) and if a stoppable puck becomes unstoppable, then it's the goalie's fault. Simple as that. And Huet has done it numerous times this season despite our successes.

  • In reply to Holes02:

    Goon,

    I think you're missing my point. No one loves the Hawks as much as I do. No one wants them to win a cup more than i do. With that said, the opportunity was there to INCREASE the chances of winning a cup, and they arrogantly passed. They actually ADMITTED to the idea that an upgrade might be something to consider! The Hawks are the best team in the NHL. I believe that. However, I can NOT be argued that the goalies have been good. The face the fewest shots in the league! With average goaltending, the Hawks would have at least 5 more wins, and would have SJ in the rear view mirror by now.

    My only point was that the Hawks had the chance to fix it, and didn't.

    Read back, and you'll see my feelings on the Hawks. I've said time and time again they are the best in the game. I stand by that.

  • In reply to Holes02:

    The Hawks can't afford to write a bigger check for a big name goalie. That's why Bowman wouldn't even consider it.

    The failure of Huet is the dismal defense played by the guys in front of him who concern themselves with offense more than defense.
    The Wings used Osgood in the net for their last two runs at the cup and they did pretty well with an average net minder. They played defense first and let the goals come when the opportunities were there.

  • In reply to mingfrommongo:

    The feeling around last years Finals (from all analyst) was that had the Wings won the Cup (or game 7) Osgood would have been the winner of the Conn Smyth. The MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs doesnt go to an "average" player. He was great and he had an incredible playoffs.

    But I guess we'll never know. Thats my two cents.

  • In reply to matto:

    Mike freakin' VERNON won the Conn Smythe, not by being a great regular-season goalie (he was way past his prime by then), but by getting hot in the '97 playoffs. You should know that.

  • In reply to ThatGuy:

    ThatGuy- I do know that. You dont win the the Conn Smythe for regular season play. The Conn Smythe only goes to the MVP of the PLAYOFFS. Regular season has nothing to do with it. I dont see where I wrote anything to the contrary. (Ill clarify what I was trying to say about Osgood- if the Wings won game 7 of the Finals last year, Osgood would have won the Conn hands down- He had an incredible playoff run in 2009)

    And Ill agree with Vernon being past his prime. His prime was in the late 80's early 90's. After the Wings 97- he went on to play a couple more un-noteworthy seasons (in SJ/FLA/CAL) But who cares? The reason the Wings brought him to Detroit in the first place was to add veteran experience (he had won over 250 games - former Stanley Cup winner at that point) and put a proven and confident goalie in net for their run. It was also a great way to bring Osgood up a level and learn from one of the greatest goalies of the day (and 12th All time) And it worked.

    I really think the Hawks had that with Khabi. He is in the top 20 of all time wins (currently) and had previously won a Stanley Cup. That kind of experience and confidence in net during the playoffs goes really far! (It brought the Hawks to the WCF last year.) Now they have two unproven goalies in Huet and Niemi and I think that they have taken one step backwards in that respect this year.

    If the Hawk netminders were Khabi and Huet or Khabi and Niemi going into this years playoffs, I would have bet my house on the Hawks winning it all. Unfortunately, I think even the first round will be difficult with Huet in net. Niemi starting... could be a different story! It might gamble to start a rookie in the playoffs but he wouldnt be the first ever and sometimes those guys suprise us all. J.S. Giguere for example in 2003- Took the Ducks to the Finals and won the CONN SMYTHE for his post season play (just to bring things full circle! Haha!) even though the Ducks lost the Cup to NJ.

    Not saying that what'll happen with Niemi but I think its more likely than Cristobal winning a series.

    PS- Great game last night against LA- I liked Kane's attempt at the 'Savoir Faire'! It would have been cool to have scored that on Denis Savard night!

  • In reply to matto:

    My point was that Vernon was not even top 10 during the regular season, but came up big in the '97 playoffs. Huet has been spectacular and confident in the past. He has not been terrible this year. It would not surprise me one bit if he gets hot in the Cup run. Sure, I would much rather have Luongo or Miller back there, but that wasn't going to happen. The options available (Vokoun, Price, Turco, and their ilk) were arguably not much better than what they already had, and would have required giving up Versteeg at the very least. Given all of the options, I can see why the braintrust decided to roll the dice.

    Also, if the Hawk netminders were Khabi and Huet or Khabi and Niemi going into this years playoffs, you would still be looking at Huet of Niemi. Khabibulin and his herniated disk are driving around full of Stoly, and he won't see the ice again this season.

  • In reply to ThatGuy:

    You are right about Vernon regular season and I see the point you are making. The last thing I would mentiion is that Vernon went into those playoffs with a Stanley Cup under his belt (89). I just happen to be one that believes that having a goalie (veteran)that has lots of playoff experience and/or a ring, are more likely to be the stable force that guides your team throughout. Those type of goalies dont have the mental breakdowns they did in the earlier part of their playoff careers and always seem to bounce right back after a close loss that they "should have won" or even a blowout. Goalies that have not already gone through those growing pains are (in my opinion) more likely to lose confidence early and then make mistakes.

    Any goalie is capable of going into a zone and if Huet is to have success, he will need to be there through June! Huet wouldnt be the first goalie to suprise everyone come playoff time! Who really knows?

    Oh and... The only thing I will say about Khabi is that we both agree that he is currently full of Stoli where ever he is!!

  • In reply to matto:

    There you go again...
    ...kissing ass after you talked all that bullshit.

    When I get my hands on you, I swear by all that is holy, your momma is gonna cry when she sees what I've done to you!!!

  • In reply to GoonSquad:

    TOI-VO-NEN! TOI-VO-NEN! TOI-VO-NEN!
    :p

  • In reply to GoonSquad:

    Regular season record doesnt mean anything when it comes time for the post season- douchetard!

    Huet is a siv and should be getting tightening things up as you move closer to mid April.... he is not.

    Neither of your goalies have EVER won a playoff series and the outlook isnt good this year-

    Hawks dont make it out of the first round! The Wings in 5 AGAIN!

    Mwaahaha!!!!

  • In reply to matto:

    You steal words and can't spell.
    I wonder how much trouble I'll get into for smacking the shit out of a stupid 12 year old girl at the UC on the 11th.
    I guess I'll have to send a $10 hood rat after you...

  • In Huet's defense, it was more like 3 soft goals.

    Actually, not sure what to say about the 3rd. Amazing play by Williams but, as one Hawk fan said, Huet looked like he was heading to the concession stand for nachos.

  • I'd like to know when his fat ass is gonna consider the lack of scoring as a valid reason for these losses.
    It's always one sided with him.

    Besides, it was Jay that was heading for the nacho stand, not Huet...

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