Fast Legs and a Big Head

Scott Niedermayer

Scott Niedermayer is one of the most dynamic defensemen to play the game of hockey.  He can pass, shoot and he can skate like the wind.

Nobody is going to ever doubt this guy’s ability to play hockey, but if there is one thing to doubt about the smooth-skating Anaheim Duck, it’s that he might have one of the most warped senses of reality in all of hockey.

Earlier this week, Niedermayer officially returned to the Anaheim Ducks and, theoretically, that move couldn’t have come at a better time.  What should be mentioned is that Niedermayer is finally coming back to the Ducks after contemplating retirement from the NHL after he won his fourth Stanley Cup of his career. 

Now the obvious tells us that yeah, he can win.  Here is the not-so-obvious truth of things though.  This guy has no grasp on reality if he thinks he can simply come back, in December, without going through training camp or battling through the first quarter of the season. 

With Niedermayer coming back, it brings another element to the Ducks game, but it also shows his teammates that this guy thinks he is bigger and better than the team, especially if he takes his time trying to figure out if he should retire or not then decide to just slide back onto the team after his teammates have gone through training camp – where the struggles of camp help build team chemistry – and struggled through a quarter of the season.  It shows that one individual has more power than the entire team and that general manager Brian Burke might have a weakness as a GM. 

What Niedermayer is doing creates ripples within a team.  He doesn’t care about his team if he just decided to waltz on back into the line up, despite having not earned it by skipping training camp and a portion of the season.

Not only is this latest situation an example of just how daft this guy might be, but there are others.

In the 2001 playoffs, in a series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Niedermayer was elbowed by Tie Domi.  It was a dirty play and Domi was suspended accordingly for his actions.  When Domi apologized to Niedermayer, the former Devil refused to accept the apology and said the play was dirty. 

Talk about a short memory then.  Back when Niedermayer played for the Devils, he clubbed Florida Panther tough guy Peter Worrell over the head and was quite fortunate that the much bigger Worrell didn’t end Niedermayer’s life with one punch because he very well could have.

In last season’s Stanley Cup final against Ottawa, Niedermayer had a puck shot at him by Daniel Alfredsson.  Again Niedermayer felt he was disrespected.  Fair enough, it did look like Alfredsson shot the puck at him on purpose, but Niedermayer might recall an incident in New York when he was a member of the Devils, when he got into a fight with Valeri Kamensky.

Niedermayer jersied Kamensky, then grabbed the Rangers jersey and tried to punt it out of Madison Square Garden.  That is ridiculously disrespectful.

This isn’t a blog to simply bash one of the best defencemen to ever play the game.  It is simply to point out that Niedermayer has no real sense of reality, and does not have the squeaky-clean image everyone seems to think he has. The former Olympian feels he can do just about anything he wants to and that he thinks he is bigger then the Anaheim Ducks team.

Will this latest move by Niedermayer pay off for the Ducks, or will it cause ripples inside a dressing room still recovering from a Stanley Cup hangover?

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