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Goaltender Antti Niemi was seeking stability more than money
when he agreed to a one-year Joe Looney
, $950,000 contract with the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

Who could blame the 34-year-old, who was eligible for free agency on July 1,
after a whirlwind 2017-18 season? Niemi was bought out by the Dallas Stars last
summer Jourdan Lewis
, signed with Pittsburgh, was claimed on waivers by Florida
and then claimed again by Montreal.

”The way I felt when I was playing in Montreal, I was comfortable there,”
Niemi said on a conference call. ”I didn’t need to change that.

”It wasn’t about getting the most money.”

Niemi was 0-3-0 with a 7.49 goals-against average when Pittsburgh placed him
on waivers on Oct. 24 ,
and he was 0-1-1 with a 5.11 GAA – allowing five goals on 39 shots in two
appearances – when he was put on waivers again by the Panthers on Nov. 14.

But the Finnish veteran settled down nicely when claimed that day by
Montreal, where he was reunited with goalie coach Stephane Waite. The two had
worked together when Niemi backstopped the Chicago Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup
in 2010.

With the Canadiens, Niemi went 7-5-4 with a 2.46 GAA and a .929 save

The club now has two goalies on one-way contracts vying for the job as backup
to Carey Price next season – Niemi and prospect Charlie Lindgren, who signed a
three-year extension on Feb. 13. It could make for a fierce battle in training
camp Kyle Long
, but at least whichever gets sent to AHL Laval will earn
his full NHL salary.

Niemi was just glad that his stint in Montreal showed he can still play
top-level hockey.

He said what prompted him to sign was ”how last season went and how I was
able to bounce back.”

President Trump has railed against NFL players who took a knee during the
playing of the national anthem as unpatriotic over the last two years while
ignoring the stated reasons for the protests but that changed a bit on

Those reasons center on inequality in the treatment of minorities by law
enforcement in the United States and the President said during a press gathering
ahead of his trip to the G-7 meeting that players have “seen a lot of abuse,
they’ve seen a lot of unfairness” during their lives. He also invited players to
make known people they think have been treated unfairly and promised to look
into those cases.

“I’m going to ask all of those people to recommend to me — because that’s
what they’re protesting — people that they think were unfairly treated by the
justice system. And I understand that. I’m going to ask them to recommend to me
people that were unfairly treated and I’m gonna take a look at those
applications and if I find and my committee finds that they’ve been unfairly
treated than we’ll pardon them. Or at least let them out.”

There’s no way to pardon or let out people who are dead after run-ins with
law enforcement, of course. Those deaths and the response to those deaths by law
enforcement agencies and the justice system are a major part of what spurred the
protests in the first place and were not addressed by the President on

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