Today is the day where two more former New Jersey Devils players will enter the Hockey Hall of Fame. Forward Brendan Shanahan and defenseman Scott Niedermayer will be formally inducted tonight along with Chris Chelios, Fred Shero, and Geraldine Heaney. Given how much both players have accomplished in their careers, it is only appropriate that they will be listed among the greatest to have ever played the game.
Shanahan was the definition of a power forward for 15 years with fantastic hands to with his fearsome physical game. While his best years came with St. Louis and Detroit, how he left the organization resulted in a certain #4 coming back in return thanks to a judge and Lou Lamoriello. Niedermayer could do it all at both ends of the rink for massive amounts of ice time against the other team's best and still be able to go end-to-end and put fear in the hearts of the opposition. He played the vast majority of his career with the Devils and while his decision to go play with his brother in Anaheim hurt at the time, that wound healed. So much so that he received nothing but adulation and adoration when his #27 was retired back on December 16, 2011.
I've written quite a bit about both players. Back when it was announced when both would be going to the Hall of Fame back in the summer. In Niedermayer's case, I wrote extensively about his career before his number went up into the rafters of the Prudential Center. Rather than re-hashing that, let's use the power of video (regardless of quality) to remember some of things they've done throughout their illustrious and
Given that Shanahan's time with the Devils was from 1987 through 1991 and then his last season in the game in 2008-09, there's not a whole lot of Shanahan highlights available when he was a Devil. But there are a few out there. Such as his first goal as a Devil in the 2008-09 season:
Chico was quite excited and why not? A 40-year old man just walked right to the net and put it far post as if it was routine, like reading the paper or making a pot of coffee. Shanahan scored six goals in 38 games in his final season. One of those six was on a penalty shot that helped a wild comeback effort against Tampa Bay in 2009:
The speed wasn't there. The endurance dropped. But the hands, those lovely hands, still kept him a viable player in those later years. You got a glimpse of those on that penalty shot just as Karri Ramo did.
Back when Shanahan was with Our Hated Rivals, MSG made him the focus of an episode of an old series called ProFiles. Someone's uploaded all four parts, but I'm including the second one. This video includes video footage of Shanahan with the Devils as a young player as well as the young forward in pants back with the London Knights.
It also includes Shanahan discussing his dad, who fell to Alzheimer's disease during the early years of his career. Rich Chere had a fantastic article at NJ.com on Sunday about Shanahan dealing with that pain while breaking into the league as well as Shanahan's own memories with the organization. In that article, Shanahan reveals that he sent Lou his jersey from his 1,000th game while with Detroit. He may be best remembered as a Red Wing for all of the goals he scored with them. In fact, here's a compilation video of all 22 he scored in the 1997, 1998, and 2002 Stanley Cup runs.
Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot of video of Shanahan's first go-around with the Devils available unless you're into fights. There were a few clips during this 2009 interview with Steve Cangelosi as he discussed his return to the organization. Here is part one of this interview, part two has a few more in this video:
I am almost required to include this video when discussing great moments in Niedermayer's career. You know the one:
Niedermayer has won just about everything a men's hockey player could do at the professional level. It is remarkable that one of his best moments came when he was 21. I broke this goal down over this past summer, I saw it on TV as a kid, and I'm still amazed every time I see it. What a goal.
Of course, Niedermayer did some other things. Here's another example of Niedermayer jumping up on the play to score a goal in a Stanley Cup Final: This one was from Game 6 in 2000:
Niedermayer was allowed to jump up on the play early in his career and continued to do so right until the very end. As he should have been. He was fast enough to go from end-to-end, smart enough to recognize when he should and should not pinch in, and skilled enough to make sure the offensive chance doesn't turn into a counter attack. This was evident as far as back as his first ever NHL goal:
But Niedermayer definitely could score from distance too. Here's an example from a regular season game from Calgary back in the 2001-02 season. Bobby Holik gets away with a trip and Niedermayer one-times a wrist shot that gets through high.
But it wasn't all just wristers and heads-up play from Niedermayer. His slapshot was pretty good too. As an example, then-Islander Chris Osgood found that out the hard way during this game's overtime period from the 2001-02 season:
On occasion, Niedermayer would go "over the line" toughness-wise. One of those examples did lead to the beloved time when he punted Valeri Kamesky's jersey:
Of course, the last two goals weren't so much career highlights, just examples of what he did. And the kicking of the jersey is, well, just kicking a jersey. Niedermayer did so much in his career that it's nigh-impossible to put together a complete list of all of them. This ten-minute compilation video across his career with New Jersey, Anaheim, and Team Canada really hits most of the high notes, though.
Lastly, his entire number retirement ceremony:
Once again, congratulations to both Brendan Shanahan and Scott Niedermayer for being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Share your favorite memories of both former Devils in the comments. Thank you for reading.