The captain of the New Jersey Devils is now the captain of the 2010 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team.
Cloquet’s Jamie Langenbrunner was named to lead a young American team Monday afternoon by general manager Brian Burke in a teleconference call.
“He’s a model of consistency, of versatility. This is a guy who does just about everything well on an ice surface and lots of things well in the dressing room,” Burke, president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, said of his captain. “We’ve had some difficult decisions and long discussions [in putting the American team together], but one thing we didn’t have any kind of a fight on was picking our captain.”
Langenbrunner, 34, in his 14th NHL season, is in his third year as New Jersey’s captain. He’s the third-oldest member of a U.S. team that begins play in the Winter Olympics against Switzerland on Feb. 16 in Vancouver, British Columbia. The right winger was also on the 1998 Olympic team as a 22 year old.
Four alternate captains named were New Jersey forward Zach Parise, Detroit defenseman Brian Rafalski, Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter and Los Angeles forward Dustin Brown.
“There are plenty of leaders on this team, to be picked, is a great honor,” said Langenbrunner. “I’m not too worried about leadership on this team, we have plenty of great leaders.
“As far as individual things I don’t have anything to compare this to. I’ve never prided myself on individual accomplishments, but to be singled out as captain is an honor and something I am going to take very seriously.”
When asked about hockey influences growing up, Langenbrunner, Minnesota’s 1993 high school player of the year as a Cloquet-Esko-Carlton junior, said:
“[CEC coach] Tom McFarlane instilled a lot of the values and ideals that [New Jersey general manager] Lou Lamoriello has, starting right with haircut rules and dress codes,” said Langenbrunner.
In 1992-93, Langenburnner had 27 goals and 62 assists for 89 points in 28 high school games, breaking Corey Millen’s single-season school mark of 79 points. CEC finished 26-2, a program record for victories.
“Jamie was a tremendous leader then and has been a leader on every team he’s been on,” said McFarlane, employed by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau. “He’s a captain for one of the NHL’s best franchises. I would’ve been surprised if Jamie hadn’t been named [U.S.] captain.”
Langenbrunner has played in more NHL games and recorded more points than anyone to grow up in Northeastern Minnesota. In 927 games, he has 222 goals and 363 assists for 585 points. Last season, his best statistically in the league, he had 56 points in 81 games. This season he has 40 points in 43 games.
“He’s the type of guy that when something needs to be said, he says it,” said New Jersey linemate Zach Parise, a former North Dakota forward, also on the American team.
Said U.S. coach Ron Wilson: “I’m really proud Jamie is going to be our captain, he is the ultimate professional and his experience in the Olympics and the World Cup will really help get our team pulling together and heading in the right direction.”
Team USA 2010 Olympic Winter Games Schedule
Feb. 16-28 • Vancouver, B.C.
Date Opponent Time (CST)
Tues., Feb. 16 Switzerland 2 p.m.
Thurs., Feb. 18 Norway 2 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 21 Canada 6:40 p.m.
Tues., Feb. 23 Qualification Games+ 2 p.m.
Wed., Feb. 24 Quarterfinals+ 2 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 26 Semifinals+ 2 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 27 Bronze-Medal Game 7 p.m./10 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 28 Gold-Medal Game 12:15 p.m./3:15 p.m.