Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Never-Ending Story: Indecisionmayer

Well, more on Niedergate: the wavering one has called a press conference for 10:30 am this morning, but word on the internet is that he will essentially tell us nothing. Per the OC Register, Scott will miss the start of training camp, but other than that his future is no more clear than it was in June: “Maybe I’ll be in camp in a week, or for that matter, I could never put on skates again.”

And while Ducks fans and non-Ducks fans alike fret and stew and wonder and wait, I gotta side with Brian Burke on this issue: "I think there's a misperception out there that this is somehow inconveniencing us. And it's not. We want this player to return. The phone call we don't want is that he's going to retire. The fact he's undecided and this might stretch into the start of the year, this is not a crisis mode for us. This is good news. Because it means he hasn't made the one phone call we don't want him to make."

This Globe & Mail piece lays out the salary options on Niedermayer pretty well: so long as there's no 'agreement' with Niedermayer as to the timing of his possible return, the Ducks can suspend Niedermayer for missing camp, and however long Scott stays out, his $6.75 M salary will not have to be paid nor will it count against the salary cap.

If anything meaningful is said during the press conference, I will add it to this post. In the meantime, though, here's three takeaway thoughts:

  • The Ducks, by signing Schneidermayer and bringing back the rest of the blueliners, are more equipped to replace Scott Niedermayer's minutes than they are to replace Teemu Selanne's and Dustin Penner's minutes. Prolonging Scott's decision is not a huge on-ice hurdle (see some stats numbers here), and I'm sure other teams would kill to have Anaheim's "problems".

  • If Scott does return to the team at some point this season and the team manages to retain Schneidermayer, then the Ducks would boast a top-four of Pronger, Niedermayer, Schneider, and Beauchemin. The particularly tempting thing about this blueline setup is this thought: wouldn't it make sense to make Niedermayer-Pronger a regular blueline pair, just like we saw dominate the cup finals?

  • Probably the most-overlooked good news here is that there is no grumbling coming from the Pronger camp; he's a guy with a bigger history of not honoring contracts. While it is weird to think that Anaheim's next captain may be the recipient of the NHL's two most recent suspensions, it's very comforting to know he's not ditching the team for greener pastures.
So yeah, this non-news isn't troubling me as much as maybe it should, but your reactions are welcome in the comments.


dbushik said...

Yeah, everyone is making this out to be a problem much mroe than it truely is for Anaheim. I usually look to Spector to be a voice of clear reason, but I think even he is making issue of something that isn't one at this point. Burke's statement I think does sum it up well for the Quacks. This is not a problem no matter how it shakes out.

Oh course fans will be fans and will act as though there is some responsibility to them to get an answer, but that is just not the case. Everyone of consequence in this (the GM and the players) have one over-riding responsibility, and that is to the team. Burke has done his job in making sure the team is prepared if Nieds walks, and that is pretty much the end of the story.

Earl Sleek said...

Well, the conference went as expected, nothing worth adding onto the post.

As an aside: I really don't get people who are telling me how angry or upset I should be right now. Maybe I'm a sucker, but I still think all parties are acting with the team's interest in mind, and there's nothing to suggest that the team is going to suffer mightily from this wait.

Sure it's not the absolutely ideal situation, but it's not as life-and-death as some messageboarders seem to think it is. I'd rather see a better roster later in the season than to close that option definitively today.

The Puck Stops Here said...

I always thought it would be funny to hold a press conference to report absolutely nothing. The Ducks actually did it. In a strange way I am jealous.

Katebits said...

My take on this isn't so much about how this will effect the Ducks, but more about how it effects how I think about Niedermayer. I want to love the guy, and now he just seems kind of self-centered. (Just choose, dude. If you think it would help, I'll come over, we can get high, and I'll write out a pros and cons list for you.) I mean, honestly. I'm concerned about his basic decision making skills at this point.

I'll totally buy your argument that the waiting is not a big deal for the Ducks. I don't think Nieder owes me an answer, I just think it's lame that he hasn't demanded one from himself yet.

All that aside, thanks for the link, Earl! I hope Niedergate works out for the best!

Earl Sleek said...

Fair enough, Katebits, but it's a decision with enough magnitude that I can allow more time for the 'right decision', and I'm not going to define Scott's career or character on the punctuality of his decision-making in an offseason month.

You're welcome on the link--there is definitely an argument for the side of lameness, but I dunno--I think he's being sincere about his decision-making. Whether he ought to have known what to do by now is a tough statement to take sides on.

Ian said...

I think it's the cumulative effect of these kinds of issues that leads to the (almost) inevitable post-Stanley Cup letdown. That's why a lot is being made of it, and people are wondering whether it'll be a distraction.

Mo' money, mo' problems.

Patty (in Dallas) said...

I know this is going to sound sarcastic, but I'm being serious. I'm kind of coming around on the idea that it's not that big a deal, Sleek. I guess after all he's done, he's earned the right to wait until he's really decided and not be forced to flip a coin so he can decide by a certain date. If the Ducks aren't irked, then I guess it's okay.

Anonymous said...

"My preference would be to know right now and to start and be ready to go with the rest of the guys. It's not looking like that might happen, so we go to Plan B and the second best option, which is to come to a decision as quickly as possible. I don't want to drag this out any longer than I have to."

Nieds is making it sound like he is an innocent bystander instead of the actual decision maker. Maybe he's developing symptoms of multiple personality with all the Norrises hanging around. Jeez!

Jess Knaster said...

I've always had a lot of respect for Niedermayer, even through the past two years of his Duckdom (duckiness?). I understand that this is a tough decision, but he's not the first one to have to make it. Other people have been through this choice before, and they've made it.

What gets me is that if there is nothing to report, then don't report anything. The unnecessary attention Niedermayer is surrounding himself with is not what you would or should expect of the Captain of the team. He needs to just sack up, and show his leadership by making a decision one way or the other.

Besides, I wish to start drinking upon the result of this decision, either getting smashed celebrating his retiring, or getting smashed mourning his return. Make a decision, Mr. Niedermayer, I'm thirsty.