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Ducks' Scott Niedermayer retires after 18 seasons in the NHL

June 22, 2010 |  3:31 pm

Standing before his family, Ducks' defenseman Scott Niedermayer, one of the most decorated players in the history of hockey, choked up as he thanked them after he announced his retirement Tuesday afternoon at the Honda Center following 18 NHL seasons.

"You've put up with a demanding schedule and been very supportive," he said, looking at his family members that lined the front row of the news conference. "It was really great to see your face when I came home from the road."

Niedermayer had retired once previously after the Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007, as he skipped the first 28 games. He said his decision now is final and that there wasn't really one specific factor that led to his decision, which he said he reached in the last few days. 

"As time goes on, the things that I don't have time to do or that I'm missing out on get stronger," he said. "To me, that's probably what has really changed over the past three years. It's just that more time has passed and things are changing and it just feels now that I really don't want to, maybe, wait any longer to make the next step into a new phase of my life."  

Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle called Niedermayer, a four-time Stanley Cup champion who helped the Ducks to their only Cup title in 2007, "as good as they come."

"You look at the things he has been able to accomplish, and I've been very, very fortunate to coach a player like that -- and there's not really a lot of coaching," Carlyle said. 

Ducks General Manager Bob Murray simply called the Ducks' captain "one of the greatest players to ever play."  

Murray said the team can't replace the defenseman who finished as the team's all-time leader in goals, assists, points and power play goals at his position. 

"You don't replace Scotty," Murray said. "All along, this day was going to happen and we've been preparing for this day, whether it was this year, last year, next year, we've been preparing for this. You move forward." 

Will the team be more active in free agency?

"We'll see," Murray said. 

Niedermayer will stay on as a consultant to the organization, Murray said.

And when asked about the possibility of a comeback, which Mario Lemieux and Michael Jordan did after they retired, Niedermayer said, "I'm 100% committed to retiring and not playing hockey again."

-- Baxter Holmes