THN on Niedermayer

While being social (see last post), I also snagged my friend's older copies of The Hockey News and have been slowly picking through those. Anyway, the November 3, 2008 issue had an interesting article about Scott Niedermayer. I was always a big Niedermayer fan. He was one of my favorite defensemen and I still say he'll go down as one of the best. But his stock fell in my eyes dramatically last year. Sure, I recognized that I would be biased because his shenanigans affected Mathieu, but I really didn't understand why he wasn't called out more. Did anyone else see the damage (on his rep, on his team, and on the NHL) his stunt caused? Or was I just being overly sensitive because it affected "my" player. Until this point, I was convinced of the latter, as I never heard any other opinion expressed that backed up my indignation.

Well... Ken Campbell of The Hockey News finally said it in his article "Ducks Stuck Thanks to Scotty" (or as the cover of the issue teases: "Lame Ducks? Blame Niedermayer.")

The article is pretty scathing, citing not only the fact that he just plain and simple didn't honor a contract he signed with a team in good faith and that his actions caused an unmistakable distraction to the team, but that by his hedging the team was forced to paint itself into a corner. They wanted to remain competitive so they had to make moves, and those moves had a lasting, and damaging, affect on the Ducks, including losing key depth in Ilya Bryzgalov and Andy McDonald (and obviously Mathieu).

Campbell also throws out something that has bothered me, but I figured it was just because of my obvious allegiance:
"And what of Schneider, who signed with the Ducks in part because he wanted to be a contributor on a Stanley Cup contender? In return for his commitment, he has been exiled to Atlanta and, at the age of 39, is further from the Cup than he ever has been in his career."
He ends the article as such: "Nobody will say it, but the Ducks would have been better off if Niedermayer retired last season."

NOTE: In the November 24 issue, there was a letter rebutting the article, saying it was "extremely harsh" but later admitting she (I think, judging by the name) is biased because "Niedermayer is my favorite hockey player ever." Well, two biased opinions have been spoken, so that evens out. =)

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