TSN is reporting that Scott Niedermayer will be announcing his retirement today, bringing one chapter of the three-year indecision saga to a close. It's really a shame for Ducks fans -- the luxury of having a sure-fire Hall of Famer negotiating solely with Anaheim will be missed -- but Scotty certainly has the right to leave the game however he wants to.
In completely unrelated news, my laptop officially died last Friday -- it was near-death for a few months. So in the short term future, I'm on my sister's borrowed MacBook, which is definitely a bit of a shock. I minimized a window and it took me like five minutes to find it again, and I think it was half a day before I realized that I was hitting two sides of the same mouse button expecting different results. So I'll be a bit slow the next week or two as I get adjusted and while I shop for a new computer. Any Mac tips would be appreciated in the comments (for instance, what's the Mac equivalent to MS Paint?).
Anyways, back to Scotty -- whatta guy.
He was already a legend before landing in Anaheim (thanks again, Robbie!), and once he arrived he turned the Ducks into perennial contenders -- with Scotty as captain, the Ducks won 7 playoff series and lost 3. And he was the perfect complement to Chris Pronger -- playing apart or together they were able to control the most important minutes of Ducks games for several years. Last summer I ran a poll about which defenseman was better for the Ducks, and 61% went with Scott Niedermayer, but in reality that never mattered -- it was incredible to see how they both could play situations effectively.
And sure, we've had retirement talks for years now -- he semi-retired for the first 34 games of 2007-08, but he was awesome upon returning; the Ducks dropped a full goal-against-per-game after his return. Last season, Scotty was a minus, but part of that was that he was the only defenseman who had played long-term for the Ducks; going into last season, he had played 305 more games in a Ducks uniform than the next highest guy (Brookbank). So yeah, overall it was a circus season, but he was an on-ice captain for Canada's gold medal winning goal and did assist on Teemu Selanne's 600th goal -- despite no playoffs, it wasn't a wasted season. And he was +10 over his last dozen games -- he still was the anchor for the Ducks last season for sure.
Moving forward there's still plenty of questions -- who's coming in to replace Scotty's minutes? What does this mean in regards to Teemu's imminent retirement decision? How does that impact Saku Koivu's choices? Who will be Anaheim's next captain? Did Rob Blake just get forced to wait another year for his HHOF induction? Feel free to speculate in the comments.
But also, let's just appreciate what we had in Scotty Niedermayer -- he's one-of-a-kind, intelligent-as-fuck talent. His wandering mobility is both immensely valuable on the ice and yet the stuff that you dare not teach kids anymore. He scored and created goals despite never taking a slapshot, and he could assess and recover so quickly from any seeming gamble-gone-wrong. He was always collected, too -- he could take an Alfredsson slapshot at a whistle and simply skate away from it, and he could take two minute shifts without breathing hard.
I'm limited in what I can offer today, new computer and all, but hats off to Scotty -- thanks for that Stanley Cup, and let's hang that number from the rafters. More certainly to come, as the Mac allows.