The brothers are just 16 months apart in age but spent most of their adult lives playing on different teams, living on opposite sides of continent. Spending the last two years sharing the same dressing room, living near each other and driving to the rink together on many days, has helped bridge that gap.
“I learned a few things about him I didn’t know,” Scott said Tuesday before the Ducks faced the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 of the NHL Western Conference final. “I got to know him a little better.
“I see him in the dressing room. He’s a little more talkative and fun-loving than maybe I’ve seen him before. That’s one area that is a bit new to me.”
Rob said the brothers were teenagers the last time they spent this much time together.
“In hockey season, ever since we were 15 or 16, we went our separate ways,” he said. “We’d see each other a bit in the summer but that was about it.
“This is a lot better. We see each more often. It’s worked out really well.”
The brothers have teamed up for a pair of important goals during the playoffs. Rob’s pretty backhand pass set up Scott’s overtime goal in the Ducks 4-3 win over the Red Wings on Sunday.
In the conference semifinal, it was Rob’s thundering hit on Vancouver’s Jannik Hansen that shook the puck loose, allowing Scott to score the overtime goal that decided the series.
“The playoffs is a special time of year for all us players,” said Rob, who scored his second goal of the playoffs in Sunday’s win. “To go through it with Scott was special last year and this run it has been great.”
The brothers play a very different style of game.
Scott, 33, is a smooth skating defenceman. A former Norris Trophy winner, who has been nominated again this year, he’s poised on the ice and easily controls the flow of a game.
Rob is an inch taller and about five pounds heavier. His game is to crash and bang.
If Scott is silk, Rob is burlap.
“Robby has that ability to control the puck in the corner,” said coach Randy Carlyle. “Scotty is more adept with the stick.
“They both have a burning desire to play the game. They both enjoy the game dramatically.”
The two have different personalities.
Scott is more retrospective. Rob can be easier to talk to.
Scott is married with three sons. Rob, who plans to marry this summer, says he likes visiting Scott’s family, winding the kids up, then going home.
Scott was taken third overall in the 1991 draft by New Jersey. He spent 12 seasons with the Devils and won three Stanley Cups.
Rob was taken fifth overall by Florida in the 1993 draft. He had 26 goals and 61 points in the 1995-96 season for the Panthers. He spent almost two years in Calgary before being traded to Anaheim in March of 2003.
The brothers squared off against each other in the 2003 Stanley Cup which Rob’s Ducks lost in seven games to Scott’s Devils.
During that series their mother Carol publicly supported Rob to win.
Rob said he never felt jealous of Scott bringing the Cup home to Cranbrook, B.C.
“He’s not a guy that is going to rub it in your face,” he said. “He’s pretty good that way. Watching and seeing what he had to go through to get to the Stanley Cup, it was fun for me.”
The idea to play on the same NHL team was born when the Neidermayers played for Team Canada in the 2004 World Cup.
When Scott became a free agent in 2005, Ducks GM Brian Burke signed him to a four-year, US$27-million contract.
Rob’s contract also came up in the summer of 2005 and Burke gave him a four-year, US$8-million deal.
“It was more of a luxury than anything,” Scott said about joining Rob on the Ducks. “I don’t think it was something that absolutely had to happen or was necessary.
“It sort of worked out for both of us. In that sense it’s been good. We welcomed the opportunity and enjoyed it.”