Antti-Climactic: Arbitrator Says No… Ruling Until Saturday

In a conference call on Thursday evening, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman addressed the arbitration hearing from the morning. Bowman indicated that he does not expect a ruling until Saturday.

There were a number of questions thrown to the Hawks GM during the call.

“We’re going to try to make it work…There are numbers that we have in mind that will make it more easy to fit [Niemi] in,” said Bowman. ”[The arbitration hearing] wasn’t a contentious situation at all.”

Bowman also answered questions about potential backup plans if the two sides cannot come to an agreement, and he was fairly clear with what options are available to the Hawks: accept the ruling, trade Niemi, or reject the award and move on. He indicated that there have been conversations regarding Niemi with a number of teams, but that none of them was out of the ordinary.

If the Blackhawks opt to reject the award, Bowman said the Hawks are prepared.

“There’s lots of goatenders on the market that we’re evaluating,” said Bowman.

While he would not be specific about any one or two free agents, he avoided speaking directly about Marty Turco at one point during the call.

For now, though, Bowman, Niemi and Blackhawks fans everywhere are all waiting to hear the arbitrators ruling.

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