27 on No. 27
Devils past and present recall the greatness of Scott Niedermayer
|Niedermayer's 27 to be raised to the rafters Friday, Dec. 16, when the Devils retire their first number at Prudential Center.
1. "Scott came to play every night. He had a talent that God gave him. He worked at it, he loved the game, and he respected his teammates and, in his own quiet way, was a leader night in and night out."
Devils' President, CEO, General Manager Lou Lamoriello
2. "Going into the  Draft, Eric Lindros was the centerpiece and we were picking third. There were a number of players that had some consideration. Many of them had good careers, some had bad careers, and very few had great careers like Scott did. [Director of Player Personnel] Marshall Johnston was an integral part of this and we clearly emphasized the value of a defenseman, a situation that kind of had recreated itself this year with Adam Larsson. The value of that position to a championship team and the value of that core player on the blue line, that was a big part of it."
Devils Executive Vice President, Hockey Operations/Director of Scouting David Conte
3. "When he first came up to the Devils, it was like, 'I wish I could skate like that.' Just once I just want to know how it feel like to fly around and to be smooth and effortless the way he skated."
Former Devils defenseman, Hall of Famer Scott Stevens
"It's well-deserved. I think he was a big part of the success we had in New Jersey and I think to be recogized like that along with Ken Danyeko and Scott Stevens, it's a great honor, but it's a well-deserved one."
Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur
5. "It'll be one of the great moments of his life. Obviously the Stanley Cups and the Hall of Fame will be at the top of the list. But this is right after that."
Devils Coach Peter DeBoer
6. "I would compare him to Bobby Orr actually in their style of play. Bobby was the same way. Don't try to ask Bobby to play a certain way, a structured way. He played off the seat of his pants and he saw the play and reacted; Scotty was like that, too. You knew once he got the puck he was kind of in control and when he didn't have the puck he would find a way to get it."
Devils Assistant Coach, Hall of Famer Larry Robinson
|Niedermayer joins Scott Stevens (3) and Ken Daneyko (4) as the only players to have had their number retired.
8. "The very first thing I thought of was the person, the human being. He's a great person and I was really happy to deal with and work with him. And then I started to look around: the goal he scored against Detroit. I do remember this one more than a lot of other goals because we knew that Detroit, at that time, had a real top team and this was a team that could come back at any time… I said, 'This is a huge goal.' He took it from his own zone, he missed the net, and got the rebound there. But with his speed, again, that's why he could do it."
Former Devils Head Coach, Hall of Famer Jacques Lemaire
9. "I think the [goal] that sticks out the most is the shorthanded goal he scored in Detroit. I think that was an example of the type of player Scott Niedermayer was. He could play in all situations. Here he was playing in a 5-on-3 situation, offensively he had no fear of taking a chance, and he had the confidence he could get back, and scoring that goal was really the key to a lot of that Cup run."
10. "I had the privilege to play with him. He was a part of my career and as a teammate he was a great guy on the ice and off the ice. He's probably the best and the most talented defenseman that I had the privilege to play with. Offensively, his skating ability and his feel for the game, he helped out on offense and defense – it was tremendous. He made it look very effortless a lot of the times. He was a nice guy, an easy-going guy in the locker room, a great teammate."
Devils forward Patrik Elias
11. "I think it’s very classy that the Devils are doing this and it’s not surprising, the way Lou has run this organization. [Scott] was such an instrumental part of that organization, and it helps that they won. He was such an integral part of it. And he’s a first class guy. He deserves it, he deserves all the honors he’s going to get. He’ll be in the Hockey Hall of Fame, first-ballot I’m sure. He represented his country. He’s done everything in his career, and he was a great teammate for a lot of us."
Former Devil, current Dallas Stars' GM Joe Nieuwendyk
12. "Scotty Niedermayer as a teammate was one of the nicest guys I ever played with. One thing I remembered that I didn't know then was how talented he was looking back and talking to all the players we played with and against. He's probably the top or the most talented player I ever played with – and at times, against – and it's pretty amazing that you don't see that level of talent that much. It's really incredible what he accomplished whether it was with New Jersey or juniors prior or Team Canada or with the Ducks."
Former Devils forward Bobby Holik
13. "Off the ice, he was a quiet guy and always fun to be around with. He had a passion for hiking, mountain climbing and snowboarding, so we talk those things sometimes. Lately, he became a father and became a family man… he is just a great teammate."
Former Devils forward Sergei Brylin
"He developed and came on real fast. He had great skill, speed and skating all those things and he just put them all together and he developed to one of the best defensemen ever."
15. "He's just that a good of a player. I mean, if we didn't have him I don't know how many Cups we would have won. I know they had many other guys – Scotty Stevens and Marty and Daneyko, who were a huge part of those Cups – but without Scotty Niedermayer, I don't know if they would have won three Stanley Cups, he was that important to the team."
Former Devils left wing Jay Pandolfo
16. "You know he is one of those players that, like a Scotty Stevens, like a Marty Brodeur, that don't come along that often and it changes the game. It changes the game for your team, for the organization and for everyone else you're playing against because he's able to bring such a high level of greatness on the ice for such a long period of time."
Former Devils goaltender, current Devils goaltending coach Chris Terreri
17. "It’s a great day for the organization to be able to retire a jersey from a future Hall of Famer and a guy that did a lot of good things for this organization as far as his winning and paving the way for other players to be who they are. I think it’s a great honor to have him in the rafters of our building."
18. "All you have to do is look at him skate – you knew he was going to be a great player. Perfect posture, he could be the first guy on the forecheck, playing defense he would be the first guy back, he was that fluid of a skater. He was that type of guy that would be out there for two minutes, sit out for 20 seconds and go back out there for another two minutes. He would recover quickly with strength and he was just a great all-around player, a type of guy who can control a game."
Former Devils left wing Brian Rolston
19. "I dont know a guy who, when he gets the puck, no one can get it from him. He was a great skater and so strong – hockey strong. He was not the type of guy to go out there and lift weights, so hockey-wise it was very rarely he got knocked down off his feet. He was in control."
"Just the way he skated – he skated effortlessly. I mean he would even joke around… he thinks if they let him, he'd play the whole game as long as he got a couple commerical breaks."
21. "He's a very humble guy and I'm sure this is going to be overwhelming for him, but it's so well-deserved, obviously. I'm so excited that the Devils have done this and have chosen to do this because he really deserves it and I can't think of anybody who deserves it as much as he does."
22. "His size was not indicative of strength, and it was just a pleasure to watch him play because he could excite you, he could electrify you. But he could also give you gray hair because of the chances he took and the situation he put you in, and then all of a sudden, 'Here he comes, he's back.' ”
23. "There's a lot of good memories. There are so many because he was such a great player. Just to be on the ice with him, with a lot of games I played, I think the best memory would be in Philadelphia in the playoffs where he didn't get off the ice for six or seven minutes straight. He came to bench and looked like he didn't even break a sweat."
Devils forward Petr Sykora
24. "I can’t remember where it was, I think we were playing in New Jersey, and we were playing against the Panthers, and Scotty led the rush, which was pretty common for him to do. Even though Jacques Lemaire liked to keep him back, he was leading the rush.
He went in and got a shot on goal, and the puck – the play – started coming back to us in our zone. Pavel Bure got it, and he was just flying, and was on a partial breakaway, and Niedermayer was the last guy back, leading the rush on the way, and he caught Pavel Bure on a breakaway and stopped the scoring chance. I think we all looked on the bench like 'What just happened?'
That’s just how good he was. He did things that, for him, seemed normal and for everyone else,
you were just scratching your head going, 'Who just did that?' "
Former Devils defenseman Sheldon Souray
25. "Defensively he was, you know, underrated at first for his career, but got that respect by the end just by the number of Stanley Cups he’s won. Everybody’s seen that he played both ends of the rink, and he was a great team guy, always positive and never got rattled. He kept everybody calm and on track."
Former Devils defenseman Colin White
26. "The way to describe Nieds would be I'll say probably one of – really I mean probably in the top 5 – the top 10 definitely to ever play the game of hockey. The guy was unbelievable the way he could control the game, dominate the game without anyone even knowing it, kind of thing. He was so quiet and patient, but I think as you get older, you realize as the years go on, you're like, 'Wow, that guy, he was way up and beyond any of us,' he was that good."
Former Devils forward Scott Gomez
27. "I think it's a tremendous honor, whether people enjoy it or talk about it. I don't think players really enjoy retirement ceremonies and having their numbers retired because it's not what they play the game for. But I believe it will be a tremendous honor like it has been for Scotty Stevens and Ken Danyeko and it's a great, great thing to be going through. His family is going to be there with him and you have to give them credit, too, because he was always solid as a rock."