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Member Since 28 Jul 2004
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In Topic: Scott Niedermayer files for arbitration

29 July 2004 - 08:15 PM

Isn't this an old article that we discussed already?

If it is, I apologise. I looked around here for a bit and I didn't see anything like this.

In Topic: Scott Niedermayer files for arbitration

29 July 2004 - 05:28 PM

Hi! I'm a Canuck fan, but I think that this article may intrest you all.

Niedermayers want to play together - for Canucks

full image
Scott Niedermayer (foreground) hugs brother Rob (with beard) at the end of the 2002-2003 Stanley Cup finals. Both would love to have a shot at winning a Stanley Cup together - in Vancouver. (Files)
Kevin Woodley
For mytelus.com

VANCOUVER Rob and Scott Niedermayer came back from this summer's world championships with more than a gold medal. The brothers returned home to Cranbrook, B.C., realizing they didn't want their first time playing together in 15 years to be their last.

With that in mind and after becoming restricted free agents at the same time for the first time in their careers this summer the Niedermayers decided they'd like to be reunited in the NHL. Their first preference would be a return to their home province with the Vancouver Canucks.

"After the tournament we realized how special it was and we'd definitely like to do it in the future," Rob said Wednesday as he prepared to leave for a hunting trip in northern B.C. "It was a great feeling to play with him. We hadn't done it for so long and you don't know how many more chances you're going to have."

The idea formed as they roomed together in Prague. Playing together was just so much more enjoyable than playing against each other, which they did when Scott's New Jersey Devils beat Rob's Anaheim Mighty Ducks in seven games during the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals.

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"It made it seem more real, more possible to play together," said Scott, who won his third Stanley Cup with the Devils that year and added his first Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenceman last season. "It had been a long time since we played together probably since my last year of bantam hockey in Cranbrook and to be part of a team, trying to help a team win, it was the first time in a long time and we had a great time doing it."

The Niedermayers' Vancouver-based agent, Kevin Epp, called the Canucks an ideal situation; a homecoming for two guys who return to B.C. every off-season.

He realizes, however, it's not their decision yet. As Group 2 free agents their current teams have the right to match any offers this summer, meaning a trade would be the only realistic way of either one moving.

The brothers may be able to control their own fate this time next year, when Scott, who turns 31 in August, is eligible for unrestricted free agency.

Scott's choice is between pursuing long-term offers in New Jersey or salary arbitration. If he chooses arbitration, he'd get a one-year deal and the freedom to choose next summer.

One source earlier this week indicated he'd turned down a five-year, $35-million US offer from the Devils.

Rob, who turns 30 on Dec. 28, would still be a year away under the existing collective bargaining agreement, but many expect the age restriction to be dropped from the next CBA.

It's a possibility that has Scott thinking seriously about their chances to play together, and what he can do to make it happen.

"There's no question if I had a chance, it would be a big part of any decision to be able to play together and try to have success and go after a Stanley Cup together," Scott said from his summer home just outside Cranbrook, where he returns with his wife, also a Cranbrook native, and three kids every year. "We love it here. We enjoy being in the west and spending time here. We're from B.C., and Vancouver is a beautiful city."

Rob, a gritty centre coming off an injury-plagued season, has accepted a qualifying offer for $2.1 million US for four straight seasons. Scott, however, is due for a raise on the $4 million US he made last season and he knows the possibility of a new economic system next year means he may end up leaving money on the table by choosing a one-year deal.

"I've been in New Jersey for 12 years and I've never even had the opportunity to make a decision like that," said Scott, who must file for arbitration by Thursday night. "My family is getting older and they're a big part of my consideration, where they want to live and what is important to them. There's lots involved in this decision. It's not easy."

The Canucks won't make it any easier. Besides the financial restrictions even with a hometown discount Scott could command more than $7 million US a season on the open market new general manager Dave Nonis wouldn't touch the subject.

"I'm worried about our own players right now, not what might happen next summer," he said. "Everyone would love to play wherever they want, but that's not the system we work in."

The Niedermayers may get that choice next season and they insist they're serious about wanting to come back to B.C. Then Nonis will have a decision to make and the chance to make a brother splash much bigger than the one predecessor Brian Burke produced with the Sedin twins.

"The Canucks have never had a player like Scott, with three Stanley Cups and a Norris Trophy," said Epp. "They'd have to think about making room in their budget for someone like that."

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