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Seven questions with ... Jamie Langenbrunner

by Dan Rosen
With 128 NHL postseason games on his hockey resume, New Jersey captain Jamie Langenbrunner can offer a dissertation on the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. While we didn't ask him to do that, we did want to grab some of his opinions on the Devils and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Here are our seven questions with Jamie Langenbrunner:

All season long your line of yourself, Zach Parise and Travis Zajac has been one of the best in the League. Do you feel that teams around the League fear you guys?

Jamie Langenbrunner
: "I don't know what other teams feel, but we're confident in our ability and we put the pressure on ourselves to produce night in and night out. If we're not producing, we feel like we're letting the team down. I can't speak for other teams, but I definitely think we put that pressure on ourselves."

: With the emotions of Martin Brodeur setting the all-time wins record still fresh, the Devils went on a six-game losing streak. Can that experience help going forward, or is that a cliché that gets overblown a bit?

"It depends on what you do with it. If you learn something from it and grow as a team, it can help you. You learn some things about guys in the locker room and you learn that if you're not sharp and at the top of your game, it can slip extremely quickly. That's what we showed ourselves. We weren't that far off, but we were off our game by doing one thing or two little things wrong. It shows you how close and how fine of a line there is between winning and losing. I think we came closer as a team. When things are going well, it's real easy. You have a smile on your face and everybody is happy. When things go bad, you see the true colors of people and I think we did a real good job of picking each other up. It took a few games, but we did a good job of it and realizing that when we support each other, we're much better off."

3. For years the Devils have been looked upon as a defensive team. Do you think the offense now has started to gain respect, too?

Langenbrunner: "I don't know if we're getting any respect as an offensive team. You are who you are and we stress defense first. But we have guys who can score some goals. We have a guy in the top five of scoring, 30-goal scorers and some 20-goal scorers. I mean, we can score some goals. I don't think we consider ourselves a team that sits back and plays defense, but we never have here. Just because we play a system and play it well doesn't mean you're a defensive team."

Brodeur was so hot -- as was the team -- when he came back from his injury and started gunning for Patrick Roy's wins record. Then it looked like he hit a wall. Do you think he has gotten over that hump?

"I think so. I think we all did as a team. It wasn't just Marty. We had that good run when he was hurt and he came back and we played well. It was an emotional time for everybody. Then we had the big weekend with Boston and Philly and we dropped both those games. It was a big letdown after that. We were still playing for something, but we lost that urgency. I think the hard problem was fighting to get it back. It took us longer than we wanted, but I think we're on a road back now."

5. How much have you found experience plays a factor at this time?

Langenbrunner: "For me, every team I have been on has been one of the most experienced teams, so I don't know anything different. I think it plays a big part. There are no question marks going into the playoffs. You're not asking, 'What is it going to be like? How am I going to respond? Can I handle being in this situation?' When you have guys who have played 100 playoff games, you have been through it and there is nothing you haven't seen in a series. Up 3-0 or down 3-1, you have been in every situation and you can draw from those experiences."

The Devils have been in the playoffs every season since 1996-97. Do you still get that twinge of excitement on the eve of the postseason, or is it just ho-hum now?

You have to be excited. The first round is the toughest, I believe. Everybody is firing on full cylinders. Everybody is gung-ho and it's a battle. You get through that first round and things seem to settle down. That first round is just crazy, usually."

7. How much are you guys motivated after last season's flop against the Rangers?

"It's been a while since we have been where we want to be, battling at the end of the year. This is another opportunity that we need to seize. Last year's failure was not great. It's something that you definitely have to look back on and draw from that experience and not want to experience again; but we look forward. We are not dwelling on it. This is a new team."

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