Monday, September 08, 2008
The "C" is Still Jamie's
There was speculation that the added burden of wearing the "C" may have hurt the veteran winger.
"I don't think that ever weighed me down," Langenbrunner maintained. "It felt good to be captain."
And he will remain captain this season. Coach Brent Sutter said hasn't considered a change.
"Absolutely not," Sutter said from home in Alberta. "Jamie is our captain moving forward. John (Madden) and Patty (Elias) will be our assistant captains."
Sutter thinks the combination of missing training camp and being named captain made it tough for Langenbrunner last season.
"I think to some degree it was the 'C' on his jersey. It was something new," Sutter said. "Sometimes it takes a little while to adjust to that. I just want Jamie to get back to being Jamie.
"Jamie's going to have a good year this year. It's tough when you miss all of training camp like he did last year."
Langenbrunner kept the "C" all throughout last season, one of the things that was a constant last season. This is important given Sutter's willingness to change things around from forward lines, rotating nine defensmen, and the strategy of the team in various situations. He may still do that this season (and should if it's necessary), but that he will stay consistent with his selection is nothing but good for the team, I think. Naming John Madden and Patrik Elias as assistants are fine as the two have been in leadership roles in the past.
With respect to his performance, Sutter does raise a good point, Langenbrunner has a chance to work off the rust in his game from the offseason in training camp rather than during the season - which should also help Langenbrunner rebound from a dissapointing 07-08 season.
Now, as an aside, I found this out because the Devils' beat writers - mostly Chere, but also Colin Stephenson and others - now have a blog at NJ.com. With no interstitial ads and no constant requests for information, it's just a cleanly laid out blog for news about the Devils. There's no need to worry about going to NJ.com anymore if that's the case throughout the site. There at his blog, you can learn about who was the Devils' charity golf tournament (Langenbrunner seriously hit a 57? Woah.) and learn a little bit about the alumni who was at the event. Nice to see that Grant Marshall doesn't appear to have a chip on his shoulder for ending his career in Lowell.
Meanwhile, at the current king of Devils news blogs, Tom Gulitti has a good piece on Martin Brodeur's Olympic hopes. Yes, Brodeur will be close to 38 in 2010. Yes, the expected pick may be Roberto Luongo. But that doesn't faze Marty. Given that he's still playing at a high level and that he's been the starting goaltender to help Canada win a gold medal back in 2002, he has every right to try and be the #1 goalie if he's picked. I fully support this initiative and while I'll be supporting the United States, I'd love to see Brodeur between the pipes representing Canada in Vancouver.
As an aside, we learn also from Gulitti that the Hockey News doesn't care about back-to-back Vezina-winning seasons. They rate Luongo, Henrik Lundqvist, and Evgeni Nabokov above Brodeur. Not that they aren't good, but I don't see how they can compare when neither of them have ever done for their teams what Marty has done for New Jersey. Especially when none of them have ever been selected as the best goaltender in the league.