Devils scratch Langenbrunner amid trade rumors

Devils' Jamie Langenbrunner is rumored to be going to Dallas.
Devils' Jamie Langenbrunner is rumored to be going to Dallas.
Posted: January 07, 2011

NEWARK, N.J. - There was a lot of action between the Flyers and Devils last night at the Prudential Center. And it wasn't limited to the ice.

A source close to the situation told the Daily News that the Flyers are interested in acquiring Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner, who, coincidentally, agreed to waive his no-trade clause yesterday and sat out last night's game as a healthy scratch. Langenbrunner was not even in the building for the game.

The source said the Flyers were first contacted on Tuesday by the last-place Devils, who are aggressively shopping Langenbrunner, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. But, at presstime, it was rumored that Langenbrunner's destination appears to be Dallas.

"I understand the business of the game and what players get moved at this time of the year," Langenbrunner told the Newark Star-Ledger before the game. "I fit into that category. It's entered my mind. I don't live in a bubble. The fact that I'm not there probably means that a trade will be happening sooner rather than later."

The only problem is that the Flyers may have joined the party a little late. Teams usually don't hold out their captain as a healthy scratch if a deal isn't imminent. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren spoke with Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello at last night's game in an attempt to work out a deal.

Langenbrunner reportedly clashed with coach Jacques Lemaire last year. Lemaire replaced fired coach John MacLean on Dec. 23.

Boston, Washington, Dallas and Pittsburgh were four of the teams mentioned as interested in Langenbrunner, who is 35. Langenbrunner won a Stanley Cup with Dallas (1999) and the Devils (2003) but told the New York Post that he was interested in going to a "contender" without having to move his family.

Langenbrunner has just four goals and 10 assists this year but he has 103 goals since the lockout in 2005 and posted 61 points in 81 games last year as the Devils finished second in the Eastern Conference.

The Flyers have the acquisition space to handle Langenbrunner's prorated $2.8 million deal, and he would be a prime candidate to replace Andreas Nodl on the right side of Mike Richards' line.

Langenbrunner is a veteran of 996 NHL games and also captained the United States to a silver medal last February at the Vancouver Olympics.

Interesting: Under Lamoriello's reign, the Devils have never made a trade with the Flyers. But that could change since the Devils aren't going anywhere this year and Langenbrunner wouldn't be likely to stay in Philadelphia beyond this season.

Different Brodeur?

Marty Brodeur sat on the Devils' bench last night against the Flyers, a healthy scratch in back-to-back games for the first time since 2004. Brodeur, 38, has been pulled in three of his last six starts, including just 8 minutes into the Devils' loss in New Year's Day - an unusual sight for the Vezina Trophy-winning goalie.

"This has been really tough, so I just wanted to take a step back," Brodeur told the Newark Star-Ledger. "This has been a good week for me. I've been working hard. When you're not doing well, I think this was a good time for me to take a step back and start working again because when you play a lot and don't win, it plays mind games. I've tried to refocus on the right things. I'll be back in there soon."

Through 40 games, the Devils are just three losses behind their worst season since 1983-84. But the Flyers aren't counting Brodeur out any time soon.

"I think he's going to come back," Danny Briere said. "Everybody has bad stretches, slumps here and there. I don't know exactly what's going on, if he's playing bad or it's the team in front of him having breakdowns. I wouldn't be so quick to write him off, that's for sure."

Killing themselves

In a lot of ways, Peter Laviolette is a perfectionist. But as a perfectionist, it's always easy to find fault in something. The Flyers could use some help in the special-teams department, where they entered last night's action with the 18th-best power play and 17th-best penalty kill.

The Flyers' penalty kill has hovered at just 70 percent over the eight games prior to last night, going 19-for-27, which is almost 12 percentage points lower than their season average.

"I think the penalty kill has done a pretty decent job," Laviolette said. "We do everything right and then there is a rebound or a back-door goal. We continue to work on it, we feel we've got the right direction.

"But something's always going on. You're always working on something trying to be better." *

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