We’ve been hearing this whole season about how important Scott Niedermayer is to the fortunes of the Anaheim Ducks and, according to some, the very NHL itself. I am neither a fan of the Ducks, nor a fan of Scott Niedermayer.
Up until the ’06-’07 season, my rooting against the Ducks was based on the fact that they’re a division opponent and every point they lose is essentially a point the Stars gain. Then, it was about 50-50 the division rival thing and Chris Pronger.
Now, it’s about 10-45-45. Division-Pronger-Niedermayer.
Much was made about how much Niedermayer was missed when he casually left the Ducks hanging for two months while he decided if he wanted to retire. And how big of him it was to come back to play when he saw the Ducks were struggling. And how the only thing the Ducks needed to cure their woes was the return of the awesome Scott Niedermayer and his smooth skating. (If you’ve ever watched a hockey game with Niedermayer in it, you probably learned, through repetition, that he’s such a smooth skater.)
When Niedermayer made his triumphant return on December 16th, the Ducks were really looking forward to it. They were 15-13-4 at that point. Sure, it was probably partially due to the inevitable Stanley Cup hangover. Plus the games in Europe. But mostly, it appeared that they were missing the smooth-skating Scott Niedermayer.
As predicted, Niedermayer turned the Ducks’ season around all by himself. In 16 games, they went 12-2-2! How could they lose now? Niedermayer is back!
Well, things have taken a turn now. They’ve lost four games in a row. They’ve been outscored 15-5 over those four games. And Scott Niedermayer is a minus-6 with zero points. Hm.
It’s my fervent hope that the winning streak was just a dead cat bounce and the losing streak is going to turn out to be more typical of the rest of the Ducks’ season. Fingers crossed!