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RED FISHER, The Gazette
Published: Monday, October 16, 2006

Come back with me a little more than a year ago, when the new My NHL was putting the terrible shame of a lockout season behind it. The new CBA brought with it a salary cap, new rules dedicated to making what the league hoped would open the game for its skilled players. Doors were opened wider than ever before for the movement of star players.

None was greater than the decision of New Jersey defenceman Scott Niedermayer, a three-time winner of the Stanley Cup and the 2004 winner of the Norris Trophy, to join his brother, Rob, in Anaheim. He had turned down a more lucrative offer from the Devils, where the Stanley Cup had been raised in 1995, 2000 and 2003, but his explanation for the move was this:

"I just felt I wanted to have new challenges in life. Do different things, try different things. Since I was 16 and he (his brother Rob) was 15, we've been apart. But now we can be together again."

For his part, Ducks general manager Brian Burke announced the signing of the 31-year-old unrestricted free agent to a four-year contract worth $27 million U.S. this way:

"Scott Niedermayer is one of the top defencemen in the game today whose skating, puck-moving ability and leadership qualities make him a great addition to our team. I can say to Mr. and Mrs. Niedermayer: 'You no longer have to pick a team when you're cheering for your sons.' "

The first part is self-evident for Niedermayer who, during his 12 seasons with the Devils, had 112 goals, 476 points and was plus-172 in 892 regular season games. The message to the Niedermayers' parents was a joke, son. It goes back to the Devils' third Stanley Cup in 2003, when they attended the final involving New Jersey and Anaheim, which had Scott and Rob on opposing sides. As you'd expect, their mother, Carol, was asked which team she was rooting for. Her reply: "Scott had been fortunate enough to have won the Cup twice already, and it would be nice to see Rob get the opportunity."


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