Niemi gets call vs. Flames

Updated: January 21, 2010, 10:27 AM ET
By Jesse Rogers | ESPNChicago.com

CALGARY, Alberta -- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville on Wednesday indicated the decision to start goaltender Antti Niemi Thursday against the Calgary Flames was a result of Cristobal Huet's poor performance against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.

While Quenneville didn't come out and say there is a changing of the guard in net, he did signal that starting Niemi was a performance-related choice, as opposed to something the team mapped out.

"We have a rotation going," Quenneville said after practice Wednesday in Calgary. "Sometimes, you might change it. We're pretty well on track the way we looked at it going into this trip, but certainly we can be flexible and if we have to be, we will. This is one of those games we were looking at that could go either way."

Huet did not make any excuses about his performance in Tuesday's 4-1 loss to the Senators.

"Just a terrible game for me," Huet said after practice "[There were] not a lot of shots. [I] try to stay focused and do my best, but things weren't going my way. That was a tough game for me from start to finish."

Huet also gave up five goals in Columbus on Saturday but was bailed out by his offense, which scored six. There was no such luck in Ottawa, and Huet isn't arguing with Quenneville's decision to play Niemi against the Flames.

"I'd like to think I'll play my share of games but the way he's been playing [and] after a game like I played, he deserves to play," Huet said.

Huet ranks sixth in goals against average but 29th in save percentage. As for what is going wrong with Huet, he said he doesn't believe it's a technical thing.

"You don't lose technical points just like that," Huet explained. "You have to execute, and read and react. If the timing is wrong the puck might end up in your net. It's just a matter of regrouping and make sure I have that timing and get back some confidence."

Quenneville said Huet has rebounded from less-than-stellar performances and gotten hot again.

"I think working with Steph [goaltending coach Stephan Waite] recaptured that confidence [before].," Quenneville said. "That's what we are looking for."

Jesse Rogers | email

Chicago Cubs beat reporter
Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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