Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Captain Langenbrunner

Last month, I put together a post that essentially said Nashville, New Jersey and Tampa Bay's early struggles were all attributable to the fact they were missing key stars: Shea Weber and Steve Sullivan for the Predators, Jamie Langenbrunner and Colin White for the Devils, and Dan Boyle for the Lightning.

Some disagreed:
I'm not buying it in the case of New Jersey. Langenbrunner and White? That's like Leaf fans saying they would be contenders if Wellwood and Colaiacovo weren't hurt. Certainly the Oilers could wish that they'd only lost a second-line forward and slightly-above-average defenceman.
Langenbrunner's one of those players who contributions have always been hard to wholly quantify: He's good in so many more areas than simply putting the puck in the net. In fact, his best NHL season so far came last season at age 31, when he put up 23 goals and 60 points for the Devils.

He's been a big-time producer in the postseason before, and was one of the league leaders in game winners during the year in 2006-07. "Clutch" isn't a word I use often, but I think it applies here.

Langenbrunner really got the Devils' kid line going last season, igniting Travis Zajac and Zach Parise, who both has pretty respectable years given their youth. Since his return from hernia surgery, New Jersey is 7-2-0 and Langenbrunner has 11 points, something that certainly made it easier for coach Brent Sutter to name him captain today.

He's been bounced a round a bit on lines lately, but has played the past few games with Zajac and Dainius Zubrus, likely in the hopes of getting those two going. My guess is Langenbrunner, and the Devils, have a strong year.

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At 8:37 p.m., December 05, 2007, Blogger Danny said...

Who ever made that statement obviously doesn't know a thing about hockey. Langenbrunner is a gritty, all around good player on the ice, and sets a great example of hard work and leadership for the Devils. Colin White is also as tough as they come, and could play on my blueline anyday.

At 10:32 p.m., December 05, 2007, Anonymous said...

You could point out to the commenter what a difference Wellwood has made on the Leafs as well.

Langenbrunner kicks ass.

At 1:17 a.m., December 06, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Langenbrunner and White >>>>> Wellwood and Colaiacovo. If nothing else, count the Stanley Cups.
Certainly the Oilers could wish that they'd only lost a second-line forward and slightly-above-average defenceman.
Well, he's got you there. Career 14-goal-scoring Fernando Pissante and Joni Pitkanen have Moses and Jesus written all over them.
Oiler fan.

At 1:36 a.m., December 06, 2007, Blogger Adam C said...

Yeah, um, I was clearly wrong about Langenbrunner. I badly underestimated the intangibles he evidently brings to that team. I wasn't trying to run him down, but I didn't believe that this one guy could turn a crappy team into a good one.

I was not comparing him to Pisani, though. At the time, the Oilers were short Pitkanen, Souray, and two others of their top seven defencemen. Certainly, at least, a bigger loss than Colin White. Organizationally they were hurting worse than the Devils.

The Leaf comparison was exaggeration and a little fun poked at guys like PenaltyShots...

At 11:05 a.m., December 06, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

Just wait until Carlo comes back. Look out NHL.

At 12:59 p.m., December 06, 2007, Anonymous jurysch said...

Quite frequently mentioned locally as Dallas' most regrettable trade.

At 9:26 a.m., December 07, 2007, Blogger Sean said...

This was coming for a time, as Sutter said in camp he won't decide on a captain until Langenbrunner returns... All that aside the Devils truly missed Colin White more than Langenbrunner (although having both out obviously hurt them), just look at how the defense has played since White's come back. To further stress the point, the Devils are also 7-0 since his return.


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