February 8, 2006
Niedermayer still to decide
Star d-man unsure about Olympics
RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

Decision day is coming for Scott Niedermayer.

And the Anaheim defenceman admits the deadline to decide whether he'll play in the Olympics will force him to make up his mind.

"It's tough, and I guess that's why I haven't (made a decision)," Niedermayer said yesterday. "In the next couple of days, I'll be forced to make it. That'll be the reason I make it."

The star defenceman named to Canada's Turin team is contemplating knee surgery and resting during the Olympic break. However, he admits the lure of another gold may force him to continue playing through the injury, which has affected him for more than a month.

"It was a pretty darn good experience last time and doesn't roll around all that often," said Niedermayer, who didn't practise yesterday and should be in the lineup tonight when the Ducks meet the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome.

"Trying to compete and win the gold medal. Those are the real fun times, the Stanley Cup final, winning a gold medal. That's what guys like to do."

Niedermayer will meet with Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson to give him a decision.

"They know exactly what's going on and where I'm at," he said.

Through 54 games this season, Niedermayer has collected nine goals and 33 assists.

If the star defenceman pulls out of the Games, Canada will need to add a player, possibly even Flames rookie Dion Phaneuf.

The list of other candidates includes Florida's Jay Bouwmeester, Tampa's Dan Boyle and Ottawa's Chris Phillips.

ICE CHIPS: Peter Forsberg, the Flyers' leading scorer, left practice early yesterday because of tightness in his injured left groin, leaving his status for the Olympics uncertain ... Alexei Zhitnik's sprained ankle will keep the New York Islanders defenceman out of the Olympics for Russia ... New Jersey Devils left-winger Patrik Elias was called up to the Czech national squad to replace injured Petr Prucha of the New York Rangers at the Olympics ... Islanders centre Kevin Colley had surgery on his broken neck for the second time in six days and will remain hospitalized for about a week ... The San Jose Sharks locked up two of their key players, signing right-winger Jonathan Cheechoo to a $15-million-US, five-year contract extension and goalie Evgeni Nabokov to a $21.5-million four-year deal.