Ducks' Fowler makes another good move . . . and so does Penguins' Crosby
So when club executives told him he would stay in the NHL this season instead of returning to his junior team, he made another wise decision after considering where to live.
Fowler has moved into a room at the Orange County home of future Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Niedermayer, who has been doing some scouting for the Ducks this season while he explores his post-playing career options. Fowler, who will be 19 next month, fits in well because he’s only about seven years older than the eldest of Scott and Lisa Niedermayer’s four sons. So far he hasn’t been asked to do any babysitting, but he’s available.
“They gave me my own room kind of away from everything,” Fowler said Friday after the Ducks practiced in preparation for Friday’s game against Pittsburgh at the Honda Center.
“They have a lot going on. It’s awesome for them to open their home to me and just make me feel welcome. So I think it’s been a great fit so far.”
The best fit is at the dining table.
“As a young, 18-, 19-year-old kid I definitely don’t have as much experience in the kitchen as some of these other guys,” he said. “I think it’s good to always have a home-cooked meal there for me and just know that there’s a safe place for me to go where people care about me. I think it’s pretty special.
“I had some steak before last game and that was delicious. Better than room service in the hotel or anything like that. That’s what I mean. They take great care of me there.”
In living at the home of an older and illustrious player, Fowler is following the path taken by Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, who has bunked at Mario Lemieux’s house since he entered the NHL. Crosby bought his own place but hasn’t moved in yet.
“It takes time to get adjusted, to just kind of mature and become a real professional, so any time you can find a situation like that where someone is happy to open their home to you I think you should take advantage of it,” said Fowler, who is from Windsor, Canada.
Speaking of Crosby, he said after the Penguins’ morning skate that the team is still trying to find a consistent rhythm. The Penguins enter Friday’s game with only one win in their last five and a record of 6-6-1.
What needs to get better?
“A lot of things,” Crosby said. “It’s not a matter of one thing. It hasn’t been the case. There have been games when we haven’t executed well and games we didn’t compete as much as we needed to. Unfortunately it’s not something that’s a quick fix. We’ve got to do it game after game and make sure we’re executing right and ready to compete.
“That’s something in here that we have to solve. It’s not Xs and O's. For the most part it’s making sure we’re focused and ready to compete.”
Pittsburgh Coach Dan Bylsma, a former grind-line forward for both the Kings and Ducks, admitted to having mixed emotions when he saw Crosby fight Dallas’ Matt Niskanen on Wednesday. It was the fifth fight of Crosby’s career and first this season.
Bylsma's first thought?
“Don’t break your hand,” he said.
“It’s not the first time I’ve seen him fight. It’s not the first time I knew he had intentions of doing it. Those are a long 30 seconds, I guess. You wait for it to be over so you see him on the way to the box to make sure he’s not hurt.
“Every time he’s been in a situation like that or done that it’s for a reason, and it’s had an effect on our team. So you don’t ever want to see it happen but it has a lot of positives, whether it’s in the game or at that point in the season or where we’re at as a team. He’s done it for a reason.”
We’ll have more on the Ducks’ game against the Penguins later at www.latimes.com/sports
Photo: Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler looks to pass from the blue line against Phoenix last month. Credit: Harry How / Getty Images