Nieder drove us nuts;
Season after season his
head was in the clouds.
saved our bacon many times.
Still, we need Xanax.
Cross-check to the head
And jumping Bryan Berard.
Ah! Neider’s psycho.
The beard is now gray –
He left us to play with Rob –
But he’s still the best.
Effortless gaing the zone
Stealing the puck — yoink!
We are sharing with you, Gentle Reader, the beautiful results of an exercise we undertook: writing haiku about Scott Niedermayer. And yeah, they suck, because Nieder is really not the kind of player who spurs fans to writing poetry. But on the eve of his shot at winning a fourth Stanley Cup, we think it’s time to examine our feelings for our pseudo ex-captain.
The Finals have spurred a fountain of love for Neider, but as Devils fans, we’ve always had a… special relationship with Scott. Since going to Anaheim, Scott’s been Mr. Norris, playing consistently solidly and spectacularly, but that didn’t always used to be the case. For a player as great as he is, there was a long learning process, and Devils fans had to suffer through ALL of it. You could let it go the first few years. Aw, isn’t that cute that he’s not living up to potential! He’ll put all the pieces together, don’t worry; d-men always mature slower. But the years wore on, and the not-living-up-to-potential never seemed to go away. “But… but… but,” you’re saying, “Boyfriend won 3 Cups and an Olympic gold medal during those years!” Yeah, but boyfriend also drove us all completely bonkers. There was a reason you never saw many #27 sweaters in the Swamp (and having traveled to a lot of arenas we can vouch for the fact that you see a much broader spectrum of player’s sweaters in Jersey than you do anywhere else) and it wasn’t the ugly, contentious contract dispute. It was the fact that he never, not even after putting all the pieces together, became what we expected him to be. We’d been told that he’d be the next Larry Robinson, but that’s not what he is, is it? No, turns out it was different than that — He’s not the next anyone, he’s the first Scott Neidermayer. His entire career has been like one of his signature plays: coughing up the puck with an ill-advised pinch, then looking like he never broke a sweat, making the most subtle recovery, sparking a rush the other way culminating in a short-handed goal on a 5-3. When did his career shift from being, metaphorically speaking, a mistake to being an incredible defensive play? We’re not sure, but whenever it was, we were there, banging our heads against the wall and pleading with Neider to stay in his freakin’ zone, yet trying in vain to think of a single other defenseman we’d trade him for. And now he’s on the verge of winning the Conn Smythe he probably deserved in 2003.
Now, we were pretty pissy with Nieder for leaving the Devils after the lockout for less money to play with, of all the stupid teams, the Ducks. But we have grudgingly come to admit that of all the reasons players give for leaving their teams during free agency, Nieder’s reason is the only one that speaks directly to us. We are sisters and best friends, and every time we get to a fork in that crazy old road of life, we always opt for the path that will keep us together. So we really can’t hold it against Nieder that he made exactly the same decision we would have in his place. In fact, we have so made peace with it that we shall henceforth believe, in our hearts of hearts, that if the Ducks manage to pull this one off, it’s something of a shout-out to all us siblings/best friends in the world.
Elsewhere in the amusement parks that are our brains:
1. So, fine, there’s no suspension for Afredsson. Can we institute a new rule that in situations like this, Alfie can get the penalties he should have gotten last game applied at the 20 minute mark of period 1 of the next game?
2. Instead of bringing Don Cherry on during intermission, we’d much rather see some classic Satellite Hotstove where Ron, Duhatchek and JD all take turns smacking Al Strachan down. That’s where HNIC excels, not in giving airtime to a racist xenophobic hockey-Neanderthal. In fact, we suggest staging a competition pitting Al Strachan and Al Morganti in a ridiculous, laughable rumor-off. NBC could call it Al. vs. Al: Stooping to Scoop.
Strachan: Well, Al, I heard the Leafs were talking about trading Mats Sundin to Montreal for an autographed glossy of Jean Beliveau and a ten-pound catfish.
Morganti: Al, I just don’t see that happening. Meanwhile, I hear Philly’s trading for Patrick Roy. Oh, and Al, did you know the moon is made of green cheese? You heard it here first.
3. We haven’t been paying extraordinarily close attention, but is Bryan Murray taking a lot of heat for his gross mismanagement of his top line in this series? Just wondering.
4. How much longer before the Devils start playing again?