Roenick: Hawks goaltending is suspect

Updated: January 20, 2010, 2:04 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Former Chicago Blackhawks star Jeremy Roenick is warming up to his role as an analyst on NBC, and his take on his former team is that Chicago's goaltending may not be good enough to win the Stanley Cup.

"A lot of people say they are the best team in the NHL right now, I cannot argue that fact," Roenick said Wednesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "Their youth, their enthusiasm, the only thing that everybody says, and I'm going to have to agree with them, is the goaltending situation."

Cristobal Huet struggled Tuesday in a 4-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Huet (22-9-1) has a .901 save percentage, which was tied for 28th in the NHL through Tuesday's games. His backup, Antti Niemi, (12-3-1) has a .921 save percentage.

But Roenick isn't sure that tandem can post 16 playoff wins to capture the Cup.

"Can Huet bring them 16 games? I say no, I think he can probably get you through two rounds," Roenick said. "To go 16 games, you need a goaltender that is going to stand on his head and is going to steal games.

"And Niemi is a good goaltender too, don't get me wrong, they just need that one little extra boost in goal that I think that would make the guys more confident in front of him. And if those guys are even more confident than they are right now, that team will be unbeatable. They are still two good goaltenders, but I don't know if they could do it for the full 16 wins."

Roenick still believes the Blackhawks can win it all, but there is the aforementioned caveat.

"Yeah, they can get by with Huet, there's no question about it," he said. "They can even get by with Niemi, they're so good. It just comes to if your goaltender has a bad game, and especially in a big-time situation, that's not going to bode very well for a Stanley Cup championship.

"They are good goaltenders, don't get me wrong, it just remains to be seen whether they can really knuckle down and take it to the next level and allow this team to win a Stanley Cup, because I'm telling you, that team is poised this year to win a Stanley Cup as good as they are."

Roenick believes the Blackhawks might try to trade for an elite goaltender.

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