Halfway Home: Hawks Mid-Season Report Card

We're a little late on this, but the Hawks have had so many games and we're not exactly the hardest workers around here.  Anyway, the victory over St. Louis marked the 41st game of the year, and it's probably time to see how everyone did for the first half of the year.  We'll be doing this the whole week, so we'll take it in sections.  Right, off to it then!

The Goalies:

Cristobal Huet

#39 / Goalie / Chicago Blackhawks



Sep 03, 1975

2009 - Cristobal Huet 31 1784 19 8 63 2.12 706 643 .911 3

Somehow, I feel whatever I put down here is going to cause a riot in the comments.  Anyway, it's been a balls-in-our-throat ride for the followers of this Frenchman.  His start to the year had people throwing themselves off the 300 Level, screaming incoherently, and the three writers here seriously question why we even bother.  Hawks fans were out for blood after Game #1 in Finland.  It didn't get much better the next few, with some real horror shows against Calgary and Dallas.  We stopped eating, we were afraid to read the blog and other ones.

Then a strange thing happened.  The season continued.  The Hawks defensive coverage got even better.  Huet got more and more reps.  And since?  He's been just this side of wonderful.  He's 4th in GAA.  He has three shutouts.  He's made the big saves when required, which is all he has to do.  17 of his 31 starts have resulted in two goals or less for the opposition.  That's over half.  Over half the time he gives the Hawks an excellent chance to win, because this team can pretty much fart two goals a night.  So while he'll still throw in the occasional clunker, and we doubt Hawks fans will ever be totally comfortable with him until he wins the Cup (and maybe not even then), we have to give him no less than a B.  We'll go with B+.

Antti Niemi

#31 / Goalie / Chicago Blackhawks



Aug 29, 1983

2009 - Antti Niemi 13 762 10 2 23 1.81 311 288 .926 4

Ah, Chicago fans favorite, the backup.  "I luv dis Orkman cuz he doesn't play!  We need to play Khalil Bell more, daaap."  (By the way, since he biffed a 6-0 team out of the playoffs and threw three INT's at home against the Chiefs in a game they had to have, can well admit that Ortman sucks?  Please?  Any chance?)  I still hear people who want Niemi to be anointed the starter, and some of them aren't named Barry Rozner.  Look, I love what Niemi has done.  He's been a more than capable #2, and allowed Huet to not be overburdened with starts.  He does have four shutouts.  But let's be frank here, he's been bad in just as many.  He was woefully caught out in the first Vancouver game.  He gave away at least two goals against Boston.  He was in net when that last Nashville game got way closer than it should have been.  And two of his shutouts came when he faced less than 20 shots.

Still, he's been everything we could reasonably ask for.  But that doesn't include him being between the pipes when Game 1 in April rolls around.  He's perfect for this role he has right now.  Be satisfied with that.  We'll go with B+ for him too.

I'll be back later with some of the D-Men.