A two-time Olympian, Niittymaki is one of 15 returning players from Finland’s 2006 Olympic roster.
He starred for Finland at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, posting a 5-1-0 record, 1.34 goals-against average, .951 save percentage and three shutouts in six games. He was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player and the Top Goaltender as Finland captured the silver medal.
The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.
— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres