THN: "Toast of the coast"

Lesedauer: ca. 3 Minuten

Die Titelstory der neuesten Ausgabe des nordamerikanischen Eishockey-Fachmagazins "The Hockey News" dreht sich ganz um den Stanley Cup Triumph der Anaheim Ducks und deren Kapitän Scott Niedermayer:

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Toast of the coast


By Mike Brophy


It clearly was a violation of etiquette, but forgivable all the same.


By all accounts, Anaheim’s Scott Niedermayer should’ve handed the Stanley Cup

off to veteran Teemu Selanne after first accepting it from NHL commissioner Gary

Bettman and then raising it high in the air to the hockey heavens.


But Niedermayer had other plans.


Instead of passing it over to Selanne – the 36-year-old, 14-year NHL veteran in

his second tour of duty with Anaheim – the Ducks captain and Conn Smythe Trophy

winner elected to hand the Cup to his younger brother, Rob, who gracefully

accepted, proving once again blood is thicker than age and tenure.


“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” said Scott Niedermayer when asked if he

planned all along to hand the Cup to his brother. “You try to concentrate on the

game. I wasn’t drawing up plans about what I was supposed to do. But I guess

(Rob) is one of the (alternate) captains. Maybe he didn’t have the seniority,

but I figured I could use my rank as captain to make that decision. I thought it

would be pretty special to be able to do that.”


For Rob, it was quite a different scene from the last time he played in the

final, in 2003. That year, he had to watch as Scott and the New Jersey Devils

celebrated their third Cup victory in nine seasons. This time, he was ecstatic

to have his brother give him the Cup as the first siblings to play on a NHL

championship team since Brent and Duane Sutter with the Islanders in 1983.


“I don’t think I’ll ever have a better feeling than that in my career,” said the

Ducks’ checking line stalwart, who also played in the ’96 final with Florida. “I

never touched (the Cup) when he won it before. He’s won it so much, but he’s

never been the kind of guy who rubbed it in my face. He has been rooting for me

my whole career and I’m just lucky to have him for a brother.”


And at the end of the day, does it really matter in which order the Cup was

passed around?


The Ducks were celebrating not only their Stanley Cup championship – predicted,

ahem, by The Hockey News prior to the start of the regular season – but also the

fact they’re the NHL’s first West Coast winner. Gone forever is the notion that

too much travel stands between Pacific teams and the Cup.


There was no clear-cut obvious choice for the Conn Smythe, unless you consider

Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson and his playoff-high 14 goals, but it’s hard to pick

a winner from the losing team when the series only went five games. That said,

Niedermayer was a solid choice. He had some shaky games early in the playoffs –

by his own lofty standards – but was strong in the final, particularly in Game 4

when hot-blooded teammate Chris Pronger was serving a one-game suspension.


Niedermayer, 33, has now won four Cups, the Conn Smythe Trophy, the Norris

Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman, the Memorial Cup and Memorial Cup MVP. Oh,

and he also was the Canadian Hockey League’s scholastic player of the year in

1991.


“He’s an amazing athlete,” said Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle. “He’s an amazing

individual. He’s so unassuming, you just feel so fortunate to be able to coach

players like that. We’ve talked about no-maintenance players…he’s at the top of

that list.”

To read the rest of this story and other great features from the world of

hockey, you can buy this issue

http://www.zinio.com/singles?issn=0018-3016U&ns=zno

or subscribe at

https://secure.indas.on.ca/care/hnc/digital.php?key=W06LDN73

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