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No surprises: Niemi to start for San Jose in series opener

Apr 17, 2014, 4:49 PM EDT

Antti Niemi AP

After days of silence as to who’d be his starting goalie, Sharks head coach Todd McLellan did the expected on Thursday and announced Antti Niemi would be in net for Game 1 of San Jose’s opening around series against the Kings.

“He’s our go-to guy. Simple as that,” McLellan said, per the Mercury News. “He has been our go-to guy for four years, he’s our go-to guy in Game 1.

“I can tell you this, there wasn’t near the amount of debate with the four of us in the coaches’ room as there was with a whole bunch of you outside the coaches’ room. But it was fun.”

There had been some question as to which goalie — Niemi or Alex Stalock — would get the nod against L.A. Part of it had to do with McLellan playing coy with the media, but part of it also had to do with the fact Niemi’s been erratic this season while Stalock emerged as a quality No. 2.

There was also the fact that both goalies fared well against L.A. this year. Niemi played more, going 2-1-1 with a 2.67 GAA and .910 save percentage, but Stalock was really impressive in his lone outing, stopping 20 of 21 shots while being named second star in a 1-0 loss.

Of course, there is the experience factor. Niemi’s started every playoff game for San Jose over the last three seasons and has 56 games of playoff experience on his resume.

Stalock, meanwhile, has never played in the Stanley Cup playoffs.


  1. gbart22 - Apr 17, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    Sometimes it feels like the media makes more goalie controversies than there really are just to create drama which sells. It’s almost like the contrived qb controversies in football when there really is none. It’s exhausting.

    • Hard to BeLeaf - Apr 17, 2014 at 6:21 PM

      Toronto’s media was terrible for that this season. The whole Reimer-Carlyle controversy was all them twisting words and trying to turn Reimer against Carlyle and sadly it worked.

      Was after a game vs Detroit, Leafs lost by 1. Reporter asks Carlyle the baited question “what did you think of Reimer’s play tonight?”. Carlyle answered “He was OK!”. Reporter asked again, “Just OK”. Carlyle “Yeah, ‘Just OK'”. Then the reporter runs over to Reimer and asks “What do you think about Carlyle saying you were ‘Just OK’ tonight?”. And thats when Reimer and the Leafs slump went from bad to worse… Carlyle was quoting the reporter when he said “Just OK”, but the media got the soundbite they needed for the controversy.

      Sad how well that one worked. Sadder how often it happens in Toronto.

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