Skip to main content

Niedermayer provides calming effect for Ducks @NHLdotcom

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Scott Niedermayer chooses his words carefully and saves them for the most opportune times.

He's not flashy, not rugged - despite the full, bushy playoff beard that covers his face - and not one to stand up in front of his teammates to issue a Knute Rockne-type speech. But sometimes he has a message, and when it's time to deliver it, he expresses it in the same efficient manner in which he plays.

"He's been in Olympic gold medal games, he's been in world championships gold medal games, and major junior title games," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "It's his whole demeanor that's a calming effect.

"It's not necessarily one thing or another. He's not a real vocal individual. What you see is what you get is what you get with Scotty. And I think he would rather not talk in most situations. He's the kind of guy that likes to be private, but he leads by example."

That latest moment came during the second intermission of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals. The Anaheim Ducks were tied 2-2 with the Ottawa Senators and they were angry. Just as the middle period ended, Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson faked a shot from center ice, and then ripped a slap shot right at Niedermayer, his counterpart.

Niedermayer was mad, and a full scrum formed near the benches. A volatile situation was diffused, and the Norris Trophy finalist made certain of that in the Ducks dressing room during the break.

Anaheim held a 2-1 lead in the series and had a chance to take a commanding edge if they could just come out ahead in the third period. That was where Niedermayer wanted his team's focus to be, not in seeking retribution.

"I don't know him real well and I'm not going to judge him. I've done a few stupid things in my days," Niedermayer said.

Dustin Penner scored the only goal of the third period, and now the Ducks are a win away from their first Stanley Cup championship. They can secure it with a home win Wednesday night.

"I didn't really have a response to it," Niedermayer said of Alfredsson's act. "Just trying to keep our focus, whether it's an incident like that, or a penalty call, or hit the post or they score.

"Whatever it is. You just have to treat it as any one of those things that are going to happen and not get off our game because of it."

The Ducks are 5-0 in the finals at the place formerly known as the Pond and 7-0 there when they have a chance to finish off a series.

"We learned a lot of lessons the last two years," said Niedermayer, a three-time Cup champion with New Jersey - including in 2003 over Anaheim. "All those past situations, we'll be able to go back and those will help."

Anaheim snapped a five-game road losing streak in the finals by beating the Senators 3-2 in Game 4, and did it without key defenseman Chris Pronger, who served a one-game suspension for elbowing Dean McAmmond in the head during the third period of Game 3.

The Norris Trophy finalist will be back in the lineup Wednesday in what surely will be a raucous arena ready to celebrate.

"We can't change the way we want to play just because of the implications of the game," Pronger said. "We've got to come out and compete and make sure that this is our best game of the series and hope that's good enough.

"It is another game. You can't worry about everything and the distractions."

Even if the Ducks lose Wednesday, hockey history suggests they're still in good shape to capture the Cup. Only once in 28 chances has a team erased a 3-1 deficit in the finals and skated off with the coveted silver chalice.

The numbers were already working in their favor when they left Anaheim with a 2-0 lead. There is only one team out of 30 that won the first two games at home and blew the series.

"We were upbeat and we have nothing to lose now," Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson said after the team's five-hour flight to Southern California. "We're going to go out there and try to bring it home to Ottawa again for Game 6. There's no question that we believe we can do that."

If they do, they will head home to the birthplace of Lord Stanley's Cup back in 1893. The Senators are 13-6 in the playoffs, winning each of their first three series in five games, while the Ducks are 9-2 at home.

"We're in this together," top-line Senators forward Jason Spezza said. "We've gotten here together. We've gotten ourselves down 3-1 together, and we can get ourselves out of it. But it has to be together."

If Ottawa manages to win two straight, it would mark the Ducks' first losing streak of the playoffs and force a Game 7 on Monday, again in Anaheim. Edmonton, with Pronger leading the way, erased a 3-1 deficit last year against Carolina in the championship round, only to lose the deciding final game on the road.

"You have to guard against letting your emotions get to you, letting there be distractions," Pronger said. "Scotty has got some great advice for you: worry about the game and don't worry about anything else."

Niedermayer admitted that the nerves and excitement still exist even when you have won several times. The thoughts creep into your mind in the hours before the game, which of course can disrupt the standard afternoon nap.

"It's still tough. It's still exciting. That's why we play," said Niedermayer, the only Ducks player to win the Cup. "I wouldn't say it gets easier; maybe a little bit. It's still a challenge and still obviously a lot of fun.

"You have to be ready, you have to play your best. That's really what we have to be prepared to do. It's nice that we've done it up to this point, but that doesn't really do us a lot of good (Wednesday) night."

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.