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Niemi

August 2, 2010 by staff 

Niemi, CHICAGO – The Chicago Blackhawks have reached an agreement for another year with Marty Turco on Monday, settling into a senior goalkeeper to replace Antti Niemi Stanley Cup hero.

The general manager Stan Bowman said the team expects “immediate” contributions of the 34-year-old Turk, played nine seasons with Dallas. He is a three-time All-Star Game.

Terms were not disclosed.

The 26-year-old Niemi helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup last season after earning and 826 875 as a rookie. He was given a salary and 2.75 million next season by an arbitrator last week, putting the Blackhawks in a difficult situation.

Bowman declined to say whether the team could have squeezed Niemi award under the NHL salary cap, and set at 59.4 million next season.

“The salary cap has been talked about much,” said Bowman.

Bowman said he made several attempts to sign Niemi to a multiyear contract before the case went to arbitration goalkeeper.

“We have exhausted all options to do this job,” Bowman said. “This is the direction that makes more sense. You must have the flexibility within your list and this was the best way to defend the Cup.”

Niemi, a Finn who signed with the Blackhawks in May 2008, becomes an unrestricted free agent. He played all but one period of the Blackhawks post-season run to the championship, going 16-6 with a 2.63 goals against average, .910 save percentage and two shutouts.

Niemi is the eighth player to leave the Blackhawks since the team won its first Stanley Cup in 49 years, joining Andrew Ladd Ben Eager, Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Burisch ‘s Adam Colin Fraser and Kris Versteeg.

Bowman said he had been watching for some time Turkish and trying to coordinate the timing of signing for another NHL team would not.

“We discussed it and Marty is the man who clearly had an interest in a long time here,” Bowman said via conference call. “We are fortunate that there was a little patience with us, which speaks to the type of person he is and wants to be here.

“We’ve been working on parallel tracks for a while.”

In his NHL career, Turco is 262-154-63 in 509 regular season games with a 2.31 goals-against and shutouts half 40. Last season, was 22-20-11 with a 2.72 GAA, .913 save percentage and four shutouts.

The native 5-foot-11 Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, who turns 35 this month, is 21-26 with a 2.17 goals against average in 47 playoff games.

The stars, however, have missed the playoffs for two consecutive years.

“I have not lost my confidence, but recent years have been tough mentally because we have not reached the playoffs,” said Turco. “Part of the reason for going there (Chicago) is now you’re on a computer that has a chance to win every night and won a Stanley Cup last year.”

Turco said he has never been “better physically and it was a” dream come true “to play a team from the original six NHL once had Tony Esposito, a native of Sault Ste-Marie, on the network.

“I had offers from other teams and covers several years, but I had the opportunity to be part of this great organization,” said Turco. “Waiting, especially given that as of today, does not seem so difficult.”

With the addition of Turco, Bowman said his team list is almost set for 2010-11.

“We need to add a defense, but we will not make wholesale changes right now,” he said. “We are pleased with what we have.”

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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