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Elias 'lucky' to have played with Niedermayer

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils

Patrik Elias and Scott Niedermayer were teammates for parts of nine seasons, winning two titles together in 2000 and 2003. Elias spoke about Niedermayer one day after Niedermayer had been named by the Hockey Hall of Fame to its Class of 2013.

Elias and Niedermayer in 2004.
What did you think when you heard that Scott was officially going into the Hall of Fame?
Elias: I didn't know he was that old. (laughs)

I think it's fitting, well deserved. For me, being his teammate for quite a while, he was probably the best defenseman with Scotty [Stevens], obviously, that I had the privilege to play with so far. They both brought different dimensions to the game. Nieder made it look very easy, not just for himself but he made the game easier for us as his teammates and as forwards. He always seemed like a fourth forward out there.

Great guy, great person off the ice, great family. I was the lucky one to be able to play with him.

Was he one of the best skaters you've seen?
He played 25, 30 minutes a game and he didn't have a sweat. He had a couple of drops on his forehead – that's how easy he made it look in the game. He just tried and it didn't look like he was putting any effort into it. I'm sure if he had the will, that maybe he still could play at this point. He's that type of guy.

What do you remember most about his career?
For me, it was when Scotty [Stevens] was done and [Niedermayer] took over as the captain and he really stepped into a different role as a leader. He played some of the best hockey I'd ever seen him play. A lot of people weren't sure what it was going to be like, if he could be in that role because he's a quiet guy. He did an amazing job. For me, that was it, just taking over the team and pretty much carrying the team on his back.

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