Randy's Ramblings - 7/22/2013
10 things you might not know about Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi:
- This past season he lead the NHL in minutes played (2581), tied for the league lead in wins (24) and starts (43) and was third with 1127 saves.
- His new goalie helmet/mask honors Finnish war heroes who fought the invading Soviet Russian army in the Finnish Winter War of 1939-40. The man pictured on his helmet is Chief Commander Gustaf Mannerheim who later became the president of Finland.
- As a member of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010 he became the first goaltender from Finland ever to win a Stanley Cup.
- While playing junior hockey for Kiekko-Vantaa in Finland he would earn extra money driving the Zamboni at the local rink.
- His first career NHL victory was in March of 2009 in a Blackhawks 4-2 win over Los Angeles. His first career shutout was in October of that year in a 23 save 4-0 decision over Florida. The game was played in Helsinki, Finland as part of the NHL European Premier series.
- Niemi is a big country music fan. At the end of this years playoffs he traveled to Nashville to enjoy several days of live performance at the many venues in Music City that cater to country fans.
- He is not related to former Finnish National Team soccer goaltender Antti Niemi. Nor is he related to defenseman Jyri Niemi drafted in the third round in 2008 by the New York Islanders.
- He is the first player from Pohjois-Haaga High School in his hometown of Vantaa, Finland to ever make it to the NHL. Vantaa, just outside of the capital city Helsinki, boasts a population of about 200,000.
- On his day with the Stanley Cup in the summer of 2010 he partied in a sauna with former teammates of his Finish team Lahti Pelicans. Finland, a nation of about 5 million people, reportedly has 2 million saunas.
- Niemi used to play roller hockey in the offseason. In 2006 he backstopped Finland to a bronze medal at the World Cup.