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Hawks likely not interested in Ducks' Schneider
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 12/8/2007 12:19 AM

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Defenseman Scott Niedermayer's decision not to retire and return to the Anaheim Ducks has a connection to the Blackhawks.

With the Ducks needing to shed payroll to accommodate Niedermayer's prorated $3.8 million salary under the NHL's $50.3 million salary cap, defenseman Mathieu Schneider apparently is the guy they have looked to move.

According to a source, the Ducks have talked to the Hawks about Schneider but general manager Dale Tallon is lukewarm to the idea for two reasons.

• The Hawks do not wish to part with a prospect for Schneider even though the 38-year-old offensive defenseman is what the Hawks need to quarterback the power play.

• The bigger hang-up is Schneider earns $5.5 million and is signed through next season, when he will make $5.7 million. Tallon would prefer not to have that kind of money tied up in an aging Schneider when his plan will be to pursue the best free-agent defensemen available.

The Ducks signed Schneider last summer as insurance against Niedermayer retiring. Schneider, who has battled a hip injury, appeared in his 15th game Friday at the United Center and scored his fourth goal to go with 8 assists.

Niedermayer rejoined the team for practice Thursday but isn't expected to play for several weeks, at which time the Ducks need to be under the cap.

Sitting it out: The Hawks had high hopes last summer when they traded for winger Sergei Samsonov and signed center Yanic Perreault as a free agent.

But the two veterans have been mostly disappointing, and both were healthy scratches Friday against Anaheim. That's a total of $5 million in salary sitting in the press box as Samsonov earns $3.5 million and Perreault $1.5 million.

Samsonov doesn't have a goal and is minus-6 in 20 games.

"For Sammy to be effective he has to play in the top six forwards," Denis Savard said. "If you look at who I use in the top six for now, it's pretty tough for him to crack that position. He's been a real pro and understands."

Perreault has 3 goals, 3 assists and is minus-6 in 25 games.

Stop the music: In an interview on the Hawks' own Web site, chairman Rocky Wirtz said Frank Pellico's organ playing at the United Center will not be making a return.

"It's still a part of the national anthem and when you're exiting the building," Wirtz said. "We thought we'd try to get a little younger fan and a different fan experience. There's going to be some guest appearances for the organ, but as far as it being as it has in the past, no, it will have a reduced role."