Langenbrunner to lead from the front

The New Jersey Devils 34-year-old forward was named captain of the largely inexperienced United States ice hockey team for next month's Vancouver Olympics.

The New Jersey Devils's Jamie Langenbrunner was named captain of the United States ice hockey team for next month's Vancouver Olympics on Monday. The 34-year-old forward, who also captains the Devils, will be expected to provide leadership for a young and inexperienced squad. "We've had some difficult decisions and long discussions and some profanity-laced arguments through this selection process but the one thing we didn't have any kind of a fight on was picking our captain," said the Team USA general manager Brian Burke.

"Jamie is a serving NHL captain and he's been a model of consistency, of versatility. This is a guy that does just about everything well on an ice surface and lots of things well in the dressing room." Langenbrunner, who played for America at the 1998 Nagano Games, will be one of just three players with Winter Olympic experience in the squad. During 15 NHL seasons with the Devils and Dallas Stars, he has won a Stanley Cup with both clubs and registered 222 goals and 585 points in 927 career games.

"There are plenty of leaders on this team, to be picked is a great honour," 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. To be singled out as captain is an honour and something I am going to take very seriously. "We all know our goal and are looking forward to the challenge of going to Vancouver and winning a gold medal."

"We know we have leadership that doesn't require any letter [on a jersey] but we did have to name somebody," said the American 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." * Reuters