— Before we get started, as a reminder, or for those who don’t know, the NHL Network tonight will be airing Game 4 of the 1992 Stanley Cup Final between the Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins at 7pm central time. This is a continuation in the network’s Raising the Cup series. At the time, this was the greatest game I had ever seen live and still would rank in my top 3 or 5. This is the Dirk Graham hat-trick game. Pittsburgh shut out the Hawks 1-0 in Game 3 at Chicago Stadium two nights prior. Again, tonight, 7pm, NHL Network. It replays at 12:30am Thursday, and again at 8am tomorrow morning.
— Look for the next edition of TTMI~Radio with Dieter Kurtenbach and myself late tomorrow. It appears we’ll be in Antti Niemi/arbitrator waiting mode by that time, but there’s much more for us to discuss.
— Antti Niemi’s arbitration hearing is tomorrow. No progress, apparently, has been made in talks between the Hawks and his agent to elude this process. The Hawks can only afford to give Niemi so much under their current salary cap constraints. Anything more than $2.5M would trigger another trade. While its true the Hawks will have cheaper options in free agency should the arbitrator’s decision come down in Niemi’s favor, letting your rookie Stanley Cup Champion goaltender walk without receiving any compensation in return is a tough sell to 90% of the fan base. Its possible a ruling could come as early as Friday, which would mean a decison on whether to accept the arbitration reward would have to come down before the convention closes. Letting Niemi walk is not a good way to climax John McDonough’s sacred creation. And for that reason and a few others, I just don’t see it as a real option.
Nick Leddy leaves Gophers, signs contract with Blackhawks
On Tuesday, news broke that Blackhawks prospect Nick Leddy would be leaving the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers as he has signed a professional contract with Chicago.
The contract Leddy signed is a standard three-year, entry-level contract that would pay him at a rate of $900,000 with the Blackhawks, or $67,500 while in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs.