The family reunion in Anaheim for Scott and Rob Niedermayer was made complete with the brothers hoisting the Stanley Cup together
Posted: Tuesday June 12, 2007 12:50PM; Updated: Tuesday June 12, 2007 12:50PM
This is the strange thing: You spend all your life preparing to win a trophy, thinking about it, dreaming about it, tiptoeing around it when it appeared in your mother's parlor three times, its glory illuminating your older brother but casting a shadow on you. Looking at that iconic hardware wistfully, you wonder if your turn to cradle it will ever come. Then . . . .
After all the striving and stitches and concussions a piece of hockey's soul is finally yours, and you see how woefully unprepared you are to be inducted into the brotherhood of the Stanley Cup. You win. But you are at a loss.
As your brother, the captain of the Anaheim Ducks and the best player in the playoffs, hands the trophy to you -- confetti fluttering and fans roaring -- you riffle through the Rolodex of memory, hoping to retrieve something stirring, or at least something that doesn't sound silly, to mark this indelible moment of your hockey life. "It was tough coming up with something," Rob Niedermayer says. "I think I said, 'Thanks for winning the Cup for me.' And I know I told him that I loved him."
Rob Niedermayer looks a mess. In a good way, of course. The mountain-man playoff beard has been trimmed to Clooney-like stubble, but there is a nasty welt on the outside of his right eye caused by an errant stick the previous night and there are bags under both eyes that beg for a redcap. At this moment Scott Niedermayer, his better-known brother, is in Los Angeles displaying the Cup on Jim Rome's TV show, but Rob is happy to be basking in the natural light of a glorious afternoon, gazing at the Pacific Ocean from the patio of a Starbucks in his tony coastal neighborhood, unrecognized by the latte set. After the Ducks had defeated the Ottawa Senators 6-2 in Game 5 to become the first California team to win the Cup, Rob had lingered around the Honda Center and didn't get home until almost 3:30 in the morning. By 5:30, he was awake. When his mother, Carol, saw him a few hours later, she blurted, "Oh, you're a Stanley Cup champion!"
Maybe you remember Carol. During the 2003 finals, when Rob and the Ducks played Scott and the New Jersey Devils, she became a Joan Crawford Mother of the Year award nominee by saying that she was rooting for Anaheim. Her logic was unimpeachable: Scott, 16 months older, had already won two Cups while Rob had lost in his one trip to the finals. But the favoritism drew some raised eyebrows. "Most mothers understood," Carol said, as she celebrated on the ice last week with the families of other Ducks players. More important, her boys grasped the intent.
1 of 3