On the first day of his first training camp as head coach of the Devils two years ago, Brent Sutter announced that he was stripping Patrik Elias of the captaincy and was beginning a search for a replacement.
Jacques Lemaire has no plans to do the same.
Lemaire, who rotated captains during his eight years with the Minnesota Wild, said today that Langenbrunner will remain the Devils' captain in 2009-10.
"I talked a little bit to (general manager Lou Lamoriello) about it and Jamie will stay as the captain," Lemiare told me during a telephone conversation earlier today. "I've heard a lot of great things about him, the great leadership that he has, the work ethic that he has. I think he has all the tools to be a captain. On the other hand, when the team has success and is stable and they have their own captain, I don't see it proper to change the way they're doing things. (In Minnesota), we were starting in the league (as an expansion team) and the players were young and rotating the captain was a good idea because the team wasn't established. Now that it's been eight years that they've had a team, probably they will name a player captain.
"In Jersey, it's totally different. It's been established for a long time. You have players who are leaders and (provide) great leadership. I'm sure that Jamie is one. Anyway, I've heard a lot of great things about him."
Lemaire's comments about Langenbrunner were part of a lengthy interview I did with him today. Some of the highlights of our conversation will appear in The Record and on northjersey.com on Thursday. I'll also post a much longer version on this site on Thursday.
Lemaire was speaking from his cottage in Montreal. He'll head to Calgary on Aug. 23 to attend the Canadian Olympic team's orientation camp (from Aug. 24 to Aug 27) and then return to Montreal for a few days before coming to New Jersey for the start of training camp.
The rookies report on Sept, 8 and the veterans on Sept. 12.
Lemaire said he has not had a chance to speak to Langenbrunner yet, but plans to do so (and meet with most of the other players individually) when he gets back to New Jersey. So far, the only players he has spoken to since he was hired on July 13 are Brendan Shanahan, who he met with in New Jersey last Monday before the Devils re-signed the 40-year-old left wing, and Martin Brodeur, who he ran into at a golf outing.
Among the other topics I discussed with Lemaire was Brian Rolstona and whether he views Rolston as a center or a wing.
"Rollie is a winger in my estimation," Lemaire said. "He's a winger because he's got a good shot, he's got good speed and he can use his best assets to his advantage on the wing. A centerman has so much to do and when you're a shooter, if you play center, you don't have a chance to shoot that puck. You don't get that puck as much. You do in your zone. You do in the neutral zone. But, as soon as the attack comes on, it's more the winger that gets it. That's why I feel that Rollie is a better winger than a center."
Rolston played almost exclusively at left wing during his three season with Lemaire with the Wild (and scored at least 30 goals all three seasons), but Lemaire believes he is capable of playing the right side as well. That might be necessary because Zach Parise and Patrik Elias are also left wings.
"I think a good player can play any side," Lemaire said.
You'll have to wait until Thursday for the rest.