So, today is Scott Neidermayer Day, the Devils are retiring their 3rd number (#27 Scott(ie) Neidermayer) – one of the central reasons the Devils won 3 Stanley Cups in ’95, ’00 & ’03. For me, he was one of those players that you took for granted – until he was gone and you were like, woah wait why are all these d-men such crap?????
Answer, none of them (no, not even his brother) are Scott Neidermayer.
A big part of Niedermayer’s game and what made him successful was his skating.
His mother, Carol, was a skating coach, which gave him a leg up. But it also seemed to just come naturally to him.
“He was graceful, smooth and electrifying in the same breath,” Daneyko said. “And, like all the great ones do, he always elevated his game in the dramatic moments.”
“He was an unbelievable skater and he had great hockey sense,” Devils center Patrik Elias said. “He could play out there forever, for the whole game and he seemed like he never got tired. He covered up for his partners and always came through at the right time. That what makes good players great players.”
Daneyko recalled one practice when the coaches put the players through a particularly grueling punishment skate. Daneyko returned to the locker room breathing heavy and drenched in sweat.
“I look over at Nieder and he was bone dry except for one teardrop of sweat in the middle of his chest,” Daneyko said. “I just rolled my eyes. The game was effortless for him. He just seemed to be on top of the ice when everyone else’s skates were an inch and a half into the ice.”
It made a difference to Daneyko, who credits Niedermayer with helping extend his career.
“I’d always joke about it,” Daneyko said. “All I had to do was look for Scott Niedermayer and the puck was going to get out and I was going to play for a few more seasons.”
To Daneyko, all five Devils that won the Cup together three times – Daneyko, Niedermayer, Brodeur, Scott Stevens and Sergei Bryline share a bond, but he says that Niedermayer is his “favorite” former teammate of them all.
“Maybe it’s because he’s quiet,” Daneyko said. “You know how humble he is. I’ve had 200-something teammates. As much as you try to keep in touch, you can’t with all of them, but him and I in particular make a point of staying in touch. He’s a guy I have a lot of respect for. I just liked the way he handled himself on and off the ice.”
And we all know who the NEXT number to be hung up will be….