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Niemi driving the Blackhawks

NHL.com @NHL

CHICAGO (AP) -Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Antti Niemi (AN'-tee nee-YEH'-mee) has come a long, long way.

He once worked as a goalie for a second division team in Finland, and he made extra money by driving the Zamboni at a local rink.

The 26-year-old goalie is now in the Western Conference finals, where he will try to help Chicago beat San Jose and advance to the Stanley Cup championship.

A Blackhawks scout spotted Niemi in a top Finnish league and he was signed as a free agent just two years ago. He spent most of last season in the minors, and made the most of his chances this season. He was named the Blackhawks' starter in March.

Game 1 against the Sharks is Sunday in San Jose.

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