Niemi sent back down... then back up.

Blackhawks management announced today that Niemi simply wasn't opening and closing the door to the bench the way they expected and sent him down to the Icehogs to get more practice.

Among other skills Niemi needs to work on - wearing a towel around his neck, offering encouragement to players as they come off the ice and pointing out hot women in the stands.

Khabby still isn't ready to return but should begin practicing soon.

UPDATE: No.. wait... he's back?  Niemi evidently got the start in goal for the Icehogs last night and took the loss against the Peoria Rivermen, the Blues' AHL team.  This time Manny Legace was able to outduel Niemi.  The game went to the 6th round of the shootout before Carl Corazzini got a puck past Niemi to beat the game.

Still, Niemi was named the number 2 star of the game and allowed only one goal in regulation making 23 saves.  Since the Hawks seem reluctant to actually play him in the NHL it was a good move for him to get some time back with Rockford.