Rob Niedermayer, the newest Devil, spoke to the media via conference call on Friday.
Give us an idea of what you expect to bring to the hockey club.
Rob Niedermayer: Well, I think some size and skating ability. Hopefully, a two-way player that can be pretty consistent.
How had you been keeping in shape?
There's a junior hockey team here that I've been skating with, probably since the end of August. They're in the WHL (Western Hockey League), so I've just been practicing with them, pretty much four or five times a week.
No, with Cranbrook.
There was some talk that you were going to Russia, how close was that to happening? Was it a relief for you to get a job in the NHL?
At the time, I thought that was something that we were going to have to entertain, with maybe going over to Europe. We'd been talking to a few NHL teams, but it was a little slow, so I thought at the time that was one of the options we were going to take. Yeah, it was close, but I'm happy to be a New Jersey Devil.
Obviously you must have heard a lot from your brother over the years about the Devils, have you spoken to him lately about moving here?
A little bit. I spoke with him this morning after I called him to mention that I had signed. We talked a little bit and just a little bit about Jacques Lemaire and Lou (Lamoriello) and everything. I know he's had a lot of experience with them, so it was pretty helpful for sure.
Tell me a little bit about your feeling on penalty killing and how well you've done it. Do you see that as part of the job?
Yeah, that's something I've done in the past. I haven't sat down and talked with him yet, but I have done that in the past with Anaheim. I guess my role with Anaheim in the last little bit had been to play against and try to shut down the other team's top line. That's been my job in the past.
(The Devils) have a game (Saturday) then their last preseason game is on Tuesday. Do you think you'll be able to play in that game if they want you to?
Yeah, I hope so. Like I said, I haven't talked with everyone involved yet. I hope so. It would be nice to see a little game action before the season starts. It's one thing to practice, but it's another thing to actually get in a game and, you know, get hit, and hit guys. I'd definitely like to. How much center have you played recently? Have you played much center at all the last few years?
I played quite a bit. In the last few years I've mostly played wing, but up until that point I played center. It's a position that I feel comfortable with: I grew up playing it. It was more of an adjustment going to wing for myself. Yeah, I've played it in the past and yeah, I feel comfortable playing it.
What kind of memories do you have of the 2003 Finals?
At the time, I didn't know if I'd ever have a chance at getting back to win the Stanley Cup. And you get there and you get to Game 7, and to lose like that... it left a pretty bitter taste in my mouth, I guess. It's tough when you lose and your brother wins. It was pretty bittersweet, I'd say.
Is it strange you were in Anaheim, Scott was here in Jersey, he goes out to play with you, and now you're here in New Jersey and he's in Anaheim?
Pretty ironic, for sure. I spoke with Scott and the family this morning, and we were just kind of laughing about it. It's funny how things work out.
When do you think you'll be getting here?
I think I'll be getting there and able to practice with the team on Monday.
Are you close with or do you know many guys on the team?
I've met just through playing against them, and of course with Scott playing with them, I've met quite a few guys: Jay Pandolfo, Brian Rolston, Marty Brodeur, Colin White. I've met a lot of those guys and have played against a lot of the other guys. It's definitely nice going to a team that you see so many familiar faces with, for sure.
What do you think of the team?
That was something that really drew me to signing with Jersey. I think I'm at a stage in my career where the Stanley Cup is the main concern, and I think New Jersey has a real chance. That's something that really drew me here.