LONDON - Scott Niedermayer still hasn't retired but he's no longer the captain of the Anaheim Ducks.
The Stanley Cup champions handed the captaincy to fellow star defenceman Chris Pronger on Friday. "I'm following a tremendous leader in Scotty," Pronger told a news conference at 02 Arena.
While the Ducks dearly want Niedermayer to return sometime this season, they felt someone had to wear the 'C' so that players didn't stare at the dressing room door waiting for the star blue-liner to come back.
"It's of vast importance to us to move forward," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle, who made the decision. "We're about living the now - we can't live in the past. That's how we've tried to deal with it. We've made the statement that yeah, we'd love to have Scott Niedermayer back, we'd love to have Teemu Selanne back, but that's not reality.
"This is our group and we're preparing for our first game."
And if Niedermayer does come back this season?
"Chris Pronger will still be the captain," said Carlyle.
"Scotty knows. We've talked to him about the fact we needed to move on. I said, 'Scotty, this is no slight to you.' And he agreed with us 100 per cent."
The players shared Carlyle's sentiment.
"We have to move forward," said tough guy George Parros. "We'd love to have Scotty back but we also need a captain. Chris was the natural pick."
Rob Niedermayer also understood the need to appoint a new captain even if it's his brother losing the 'C.'
"This is the team that we have, this is the team that we're starting the season with," he said. "These are the guys that we're going to have to go out there and play with. Losing Scott and Teemu, those are big guys, but you add a few guys.
"This is a new team and we have to create our own identity."
It's the second time in Pronger's NHL career that he's been captain, having also worn the 'C' in St. Louis. But this time he's got more experience to back it up.
"I was 23 when I was captain there," said Pronger. "While you were looked at as a star in the league, you're still wet behind the ears and still have lots to learn."
Just because he's wearing the 'C', Pronger said he won't stop playing with an edge that has sometimes got him in trouble, including two suspensions in last year's playoffs - one in the Cup final.
"I have to play the way I play to help the team win. I don't think I'm going to change anything," he said.