April 06, 2010
New Jersey Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner(notes) better knock off this perturbed and standoffish attitude he's had with the media in the last few days, or else he'll never earn enough support to win the coveted Mark Messier Leadership Award.
OK, moving on then: Langenbrunner has stirred a little controversy thanks to a series of "no comments" to reporters today in Atlanta after being a healthy scratch in the team's win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. From the Star Ledger:
Langenbrunner was left out of the lineup Saturday for the first time all season, after playing in each of the Devils' first 77 games and in the Olympics for Team USA. Lemaire said Langenbrunner was being rested, but Langenbrunner was not seen by reporters either at the morning skate or before, during or after Saturday's game, and speculation began that perhaps he was injured.
He didn't appear to be injured during today's practice, but he was not working with his usual linemates, Zach Parise(notes) and Travis Zajac(notes). Instead, he worked on a third line with Brian Rolston(notes) and Rob Niedermayer(notes). David Clarkson(notes) took Langenbrunner's usual spot with Parise and Zajac.
Beat writer Tom Gulitti of The Record notes that the Devils' captain has been a little surly since the end of last week:
Langenbrunner last talked to the media before Friday's game against Chicago. I did not see him after in the locker room after the game.
I didn't think much of it at the time, but Langenbrunner was not in a great mood during Thursday's practice. He had an extended battle with defenseman Colin White(notes) during one drill that ended with White on top of Langenbrunner. White gave him an extra shot with his stick as he got up. Later in the practice, something similar happened with Rob Niedermayer.
Bruce Ciskie of FanHouse wonders if this is another round in the coach/player clashes Jacques Lemaire experienced while with the Minnesota Wild; and there's no question that Lemaire is a bit, shall we say, set in his ways behind the bench. Lemaire told reporters that "maybe it's personal. I don't know. I don't think he's in a bad mood."
Could be professional. Could be personal. For the Devils, the hope is that it's short-lived, because Langenbrunner's a dependable playoff performer on a team that's been anything but dependable in the playoffs. He'll be in the lineup against the Atlanta Thrashers this evening; one gets the feeling that the postgame interviews will be the real main event.