Road to Stanley Cup for the Blackhakws Relies on Goalie Consistency

Tyler JuranovichCorrespondent IIIMarch 8, 2010

CHICAGO - MARCH 07: Starting goalie Cristobal Huet #39 of the Chicago Blackhawks (R) is replaced in the second period by goalie Antti Niemi #31 during a game against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center on March 7, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks have the speed, talent, depth, and motivation to become the team at the end of the year to take the Stanley Cup home to Chicago for the first time since 1961.

But one thing is coming in between them and that goal.

Inconsistent goaltending. It's nothing new for the Hawks, but it's defiantly something that needs to be talked about. Everybody was expecting the Hawks to make a goaltender trade to be made before the trade deadline last week, but it never came.

General manager, Stan Bowman, told reporters they tried to make a deal, but no offer seemed logical. While most were disappointed about the whole thing, it's smarter to not make a move and mess up any chemistry within the team then making one and it having a bad effect on the team.

In Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, the fans saw an utter collapse by goaltender, Cristobal Huet in which he gave up four goals in a little over six minuted. In retrospect, Huet faced six shots that period and only stopped four.

There is no reason for a goalie to collapse like that, and it's scary to see one collapse with such great skaters in front of him. The second period collapse only added fuel to the already burning flame of goalie inconsistency that has plagued the Hawks all season long. The big question for the Hawks is Niemi or Huet?

With Huet you get a veteran goaltender that has had success in the regular season but has yet to win a playoff series. He can be amazing for a strech, but when he crashes, he crashes hard.

Anttie Niemi brings speed and agility that are better than Huet. He's great post-to-post and can make the big saves. He also has never won a playoff series, but you can't hold that against him because he has never been given the chance. His lack of experience in high pressure situations makes him a shaky start for a playoff series.

Both goaltenders have their strength and weaknesses, and both bring something to the table, but they also both lack consistency. It's something they need to find fast for the playoffs are just around the corner.