Langenbrunner to captain U.S. team

Updated: January 11, 2010, 8:40 PM ET
By Pierre LeBrun | ESPN.com

Jamie Langenbrunner was named captain of the U.S. men's Olympic hockey team on Monday.

The 34-year-old New Jersey Devils captain is headed to his second Olympics after playing in Nagano in 1998.

"I'm honored to be given this position," Langenbrunner said on a media conference call. "There's plenty of leaders on this team. I'm not too worried about the leadership on this team at all."

Langenbrunner is having a banner NHL season, with 40 points (13-27) in 43 games and a plus-13 rating.

"Jamie has been a model of consistency, of versatility. He does just about everything well on the ice surface and lots of things well in the dressing room," Team USA Brian Burke said on the call.

"Jamie is the ultimate professional," Team USA head coach Ron Wilson added.

Team USA's alternate captains will be Zach Parise of the Devils, Ryan Suter of the Nashville Predators, Brian Rafalski of the Detroit Red Wings and Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings. The four players will alternate wearing the 'A' throughout the Olympic tournament.

Langenbrunner is one of three U.S. hockey players with Olympic experience. Rafalski is a three-time Olympian along with New York Rangers captain Chris Drury.

Langenbrunner hasn't been in the Olympics since 1998, whic was the first to feature NHL players. He was a Stanley Cup champion with the Dallas Stars in 1999 and New Jersey in 2003.

Rafalski spent his first seven NHL seasons with New Jersey and won the Stanley Cup twice with the Devils before moving on to the Red Wings and capturing the title again in 2008. At 36, he is the oldest player on the team.

Wilson said he wanted to spread out the leadership to cover all areas on the team. Langenbrunner and Rafalski give more of a veteran presence, while Parise and Brown -- both 25 -- represent the younger players.

"There are plenty of leaders on this team," Langenbrunner said. "I've been fortunate to play with both Raffi and Zach on a long-term basis during the season and with the other two in the orientation camp.

"I'm not too worried about leadership on this team, at all. We have plenty of great leaders and we're all going to know our goals and our focus going forward. I am looking forward to the challenges of going to Vancouver and winning a gold medal."

The exclusion of Drury from the group of captains came as a bit of a surprise, especially since some questioned his selection to the team due to his limited offensive production this season with the Rangers.

Drury, in his second season as Rangers captain, has six goals and 16 points in 40 games.

"Leaders lead. Leaders don't need letters to lead," Burke said forcefully. "If you need a letter to lead, then you're not a leader anyhow. We know what Chris Drury can bring. He doesn't need a letter. We've got a number of guys who are wearing letters in the NHL that aren't going to wear a letter on this team."

The American squad was named Jan. 1 at the Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston.

Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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