Niedermayer eager to take on role as Ducks' assistant

Friday, 01.11.2013 / 3:32 PM NHL.com

On the ice, Scott Niedermayer helped bring a Stanley Cup to the Anaheim Ducks. Now he's going to try to repeat that feat as a member of the coaching staff.

Friday, the Ducks added Niedermayer, a four-time Stanley Cup champion, as an assistant coach on Bruce Boudreau's staff. Niedermayer joins assistant coaches Bob Woods and Brad Lauer, and video coordinator Joe Piscotty.

"As a player, Scott was one of the great leaders and winners of all time, making him a tremendous addition to our coaching staff," Ducks general manager Bob Murray told the team's website. "His knowledge of the game and relationship with the players will be a great benefit for us. And he's even a better person than a hockey player."

Niedermayer had been working as a hockey operations consultant since his retirement as a player in 2010. Part of his role included working with the team's prospects in the American Hockey League, which Niedermayer said sparked his interest in taking a larger role with the NHL team.

"The last couple years, having worked with players down in [AHL] Syracuse and Norfolk at the start of this year, I realized that I do enjoy it -- maybe more than I thought as a player," Niedermayer said on a conference call. "Talking with Bob and his ideas as to what would help with the organization, he thought this might be something that would be worthwhile. I'm excited about the chance to try and help."

Niedermayer said he would be present at most, if not all, home practices and games, and would travel with the team sporadically. He also said he would not be on the bench during games, instead watching from above the rink and passing along ideas and suggestions he sees from his vantage point.

Boudreau said having Niedermayer in that role will be a tremendous asset.

"Let's realize Scotty is one of the greatest players that ever played the game," the coach told the Orange County Register. "And his knowledge of the game is paramount. Players of his ilk, they see things that you don't see. And that kind of input is always invaluable. Especially with this role. He's probably going to be the eye in the sky. He's going to be able to see plays as they develop and we'll be in constant contract with the bench and him. Again, that'll be invaluable."

Niedermayer said he was looking forward to being around the Ducks' younger players, especially the defensemen. At the top of that list could be 21-year-old Cam Fowler, who will be entering his third season.

"Two things stand out," Niedermayer said of Fowler. "He's obviously a great skater, and in the game today that's a huge asset to have. He can get to where he needs to get at any point, with or without the puck. And he's a smart player. You see the decisions he makes with the puck, without it. Those two things are tremendously valuable. It's difficult to teach those things. Those are talents he has. Hopefully we can use some of those to make him an even better player."

Niedermayer said he'll be paying close attention to all the Ducks' young players, not just the defensemen, and will be willing to pass along some of the things he learned during an 18-season career that saw him win four Stanley Cups, a Norris Trophy and an Olympic gold medal, among other awards and accolades.

"My goal here is just to be able to help out, focus a little on the younger guys that are breaking into the League, give them little bits of advice here and there," he said. "Hopefully that can make a difference.

"I imagine I'll be helping a little more with the defense, but if some of the young forwards get the opportunity to be out there, I'm sure I can help with that as well."

Niedermayer, 39, played with a number of the current members of the Ducks, including Teemu Selanne, who is more than two years older than his new "coach." They were teammates when the Ducks won the Cup in 2007.

"I see him more like [an] individual coach," Selanne told the Orange County Register. "He can help a lot of young players and give good thoughts and feedback."

Niedermayer said during his playing career he never envisioned himself as a coach, but has enjoyed his time in that realm. So could there be a time when he expands a role he never saw himself getting into, possibly shifting into coaching full time?

"I guess I've thought about it," he said. "Would I have predicted that this is where I'm at a few years ago? Probably not. It's hard for me to predict the future at this point. I'm taking it as it comes. I didn't really want to rush into anything. The reason I did retire was to get the opportunity to do some things with my family, and I've enjoyed that. Anything's possible at this point. I definitely have enjoyed the bit of coaching involvement I've had to this point. If that trend continues, anything's possible."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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