Robert Lang (ice hockey)

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For other people of the same name, see Robert Lang (disambiguation).
Robert Lang
Robert Lang 2007.jpg
Born (1970-12-19) December 19, 1970 (age 44)
Teplice, Czechoslovakia
Height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight 216 lb (98 kg; 15 st 6 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Right
Played for Los Angeles Kings
Boston Bruins
Pittsburgh Penguins
Washington Capitals
Detroit Red Wings
Chicago Blackhawks
Montreal Canadiens
Phoenix Coyotes
National team  Czech Republic 
 Czechoslovakia
NHL Draft 133rd overall, 1990
Los Angeles Kings
Playing career 1988–2010

Robert Lang (born December 19, 1970) is a Czech former professional ice hockey player. Drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the fifth round, 133rd overall, at the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, Lang made his NHL debut with the team in the 1992–93 season. He has also played in the NHL for the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens and Phoenix Coyotes, with whom he retired with in 2010.

Lang played internationally for both the Czechoslovak and Czech national teams, competing in four Winter Olympics (winning gold in 1998), three Ice Hockey World Championships and two World Cups.

Playing career[edit]

A native of Czechoslovakia, Lang began his career in the Czechoslovak Extraliga as an eighteen-year-old with HC Litvínov. After scoring 15 points in 32 games in 1989–90, his second season with HC Litvínov, he was drafted 133rd overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft.

Lang returned to play another two seasons in the Extraliga before debuting with the Kings in 1992–93. He played the majority of his first two seasons in the International Hockey League (IHL) with the Kings' minor league affiliate, the Phoenix Roadrunners.

Due to the lockout-shortened 1994–95 season, Lang returned to HC Litvínov (now of the Czech Extraliga) for 16 games, scoring 23 points. When NHL play resumed, he landed a full-time roster spot with the Kings. He tallied 22 points in 68 games in 1995–96 before returning to the Czech Extraliga to play for Sparta Praha.

After a brief hiatus from the NHL, Lang returned after one season in Europe, joining the Pittsburgh Penguins as a free agent on September 2, 1997. He was subsequently bounced back and forth between the Penguins and Boston Bruins for a couple of months before he stuck with the Penguins.[1]

Lang remained with the Penguins, joining fellow Czech Jaromír Jágr and increasing his points total in each of his first four seasons with the team. In 2000–01, he scored a career-high 32 goals, 48 assists and 80 points in 82 games. That season, the Penguins reached the Eastern Conference Finals, but were defeated in five games by the New Jersey Devils. Lang added eight points in 16 playoff games.

After the 2001–02 season, Lang became an unrestricted free agent and signed with the Washington Capitals.[1] In Washington, he was re-united with Jágr, who had been traded to the Capitals the year before. He scored 69 points in his first season with Washington, second in team scoring to Jágr.[2]

During the 2003–04 season, Lang was enjoying another career year and recorded his first career hat-trick on November 12, 2003.[3] He was leading the NHL in scoring when he was traded to the Stanley Cup-contending Detroit Red Wings for prospect Tomáš Fleischmann, a first-round draft pick (Mike Green) in 2004 and a fourth-round pick in 2006.[4] This marked the first time in NHL history that a player was traded while leading the NHL in points.[citation needed] Shortly after the trade, he was sidelined with a broken rib on March 8.[5] Missing 13 games, he surrendered the NHL scoring lead to the Tampa Bay Lightning's Martin St. Louis and finished with 79 points in 69 games, one point shy of his career-high set in 2000–01 and ninth overall in the League. (Lang's points-per-game of 1.14 was identical to St. Louis'.) Lang returned to the Red Wings in time for the 2004 playoffs, but the team was eliminated by the Calgary Flames in the second round. He recorded a career-high nine points in 12 playoff games.

In addition to Lang's ninth place finish in NHL scoring, he had participated in his first NHL All-Star in 2004 and was also awarded the Golden Hockey Stick as the top Czech hockey player at the end of the season.

Lang remained with the Red Wings until the end of the 2006–07 season, but his production dipped each of his remaining campaign in Detroit. Before signing a two-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks as an unrestricted free agent in the off-season,[6] Lang embarked on another playoff run with the Red Wings in 2007, but they were halted by the eventual Stanley Cup champions Anaheim Ducks in the semi-finals. Lang recorded eight points in 18 playoff games.

In Chicago, Lang recorded 54 points playing behind rookie standouts Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane; Lang finished fourth in team scoring. After just one season with the Blackhawks, he was traded to the Montreal Canadiens for a second-round draft pick in 2010 (previously acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs) on September 12, 2008.[7]

Lang recorded a natural hat-trick, the second three-goal effort of his career, in his first season with the Canadiens, against the New York Rangers on January 7, 2009, in a 6–3 win. He scored his three goals on the power play, even-strength and short-handed in an empty net.[3] Having played 50 straight games for the Canadiens, leading them in goal scoring, power play points and second on the team in overall points, Lang suffered an achilles tendon injury, sidelining him for the remainder of the regular season.

On September 29, 2009, Lang was signed by the Phoenix Coyotes to a one-year contract, just days before the start of the 2009–10 season. During the season, Lang recorded 29 points in 64 regular season games while missing the last 17 games of the regular season due to a lower-body injury. His offensive contribution and veteran leadership helped lead the Coyotes to their first playoff berth since the 2001–02 season. The Coyotes were defeated by the Red Wings in seven games in the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs. Lang played in four of the seven games, recording one assist.

International play[edit]

Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Representing  Czech Republic
Winter Olympics
Gold medal – first place 1998 Nagano Ice hockey
Bronze medal – third place 2006 Turin Ice hockey
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1996 Vienna
Bronze medal – third place 1997 Finland
Representing  Czechoslovakia
Winter Olympics
Bronze medal – third place 1992 Albertville Ice hockey
World Championships
Bronze medal – third place 1992 Czechoslovakia

Lang debuted internationally with Czechoslovakia in the 1992 Winter Olympics. Lang scored 13 points in eight games, third in tournament scoring, as Czechoslovakia defeated the United States in the bronze medal game. That same year, Lang competed for Czechoslovakia in the 1992 World Championships, held in his home country. Scoring four points in eight games, Lang captured his second bronze medal with Czechoslovakia.

In 1996, Lang competed with the recently-independent Czech Republic in his second World Championships and won the country's first gold medal at the tournament (Czechoslovakia had won six times previously). Lang scored nine points in eight games. Later that year, Lang competed in the inaugural World Cup (replacing the Canada Cup), however the Czechs lost all three round-robin games and did not advance to the medal rounds. Lang failed to register a point.

The following year, Lang competed in the 1997 World Championships, defeating Russia in the bronze medal game. Lang scored two points in eight games.

In 1998, Lang competed in his second Winter Olympics, capturing gold on a team with Dominik Hašek and Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Jaromír Jágr. He scored two points in six games as the Czechs defeated Canada in the semi-finals, then Russia in the final.

Four years later, Lang once again suited up for the Czechs in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Lang scored three points in four games, but the Czechs were kept from defending their gold medal, falling to Russia in the quarter-finals.

In 2004, Lang saw his only hockey action of the 2004–05 season at the World Cup due to the NHL lockout. The Czechs were defeated 4–3 in overtime in the semi-finals against Canada.

Competing in his fourth Olympics, Lang tallied four assists in eight games as team captain in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin as the Czechs returned to the Olympic medal podium, capturing bronze against Russia. It would prove to be his last Olympics, as, at the age of 39, he would not be invited back for a fifth turn during the 2010 Winter Olympics, despite still playing in the NHL. The Czechs finished fifth, failing to reach the medal podium.

Personal life[edit]

Former Detroit Red Wings teammate (and fellow Czech) Jiří Hudler spent time living in Lang's home as Lang took him under his wing during his time in Detroit. Lang refers to Hudler as his "third son."[8]

As of December 2013, Lang resides in San Diego, California, with his wife Jennifer and sons Kelly (11) and Brooks (8).[9]

Awards and achievements[edit]

Transactions[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1988–89 HC Chemopetrol Litvínov Czech 7 3 2 5 0 8 3 3 6 0
1989–90 HC Chemopetrol Litvínov Czech 32 8 7 15
1990–91 HC Chemopetrol Litvínov Czech 56 26 26 52 38
1991–92 HC Chemopetrol Litvínov Czech 43 12 31 43 34
1992–93 Los Angeles Kings NHL 11 0 5 5 2
1992–93 Phoenix Roadrunners IHL 38 9 21 30 20
1993–94 Los Angeles Kings NHL 32 9 10 19 10
1993–94 Phoenix Roadrunners IHL 44 11 24 35 34
1994–95 HC Chemopetrol Litvínov CzRep 16 4 19 23 28
1994–95 Los Angeles Kings NHL 36 4 8 12 4
1995–96 Los Angeles Kings NHL 68 6 16 22 10
1996–97 Sparta Praha CzRep 38 14 27 41 30 5 1 2 3 4
1996–97 Prague EuroHL 4 2 2 4 0 4 2 1 3 2
1997–98 Boston Bruins NHL 3 0 0 0 2
1997–98 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 51 9 13 22 14 6 0 3 3 2
1997–98 Houston Aeros IHL 9 1 7 8 4
1998–99 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 72 21 23 44 24 12 0 2 2 0
1999–00 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 78 23 42 65 14 11 3 3 6 0
2000–01 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 82 32 48 80 28 16 4 4 8 4
2001–02 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 62 18 32 50 16
2002–03 Washington Capitals NHL 82 22 47 69 22 6 2 1 3 2
2003–04 Washington Capitals NHL 63 29 45 74 24
2003–04 Detroit Red Wings NHL 6 1 4 5 0 12 4 5 9 6
2005–06 Detroit Red Wings NHL 72 20 42 62 72 6 3 3 6 2
2006–07 Detroit Red Wings NHL 81 19 33 52 66 18 2 6 8 8
2007–08 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 76 21 33 54 50
2008–09 Montreal Canadiens NHL 50 18 21 39 36
2009–10 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 62 9 20 29 28 4 0 1 1 0
NHL totals 987 261 442 703 422 91 18 28 46 24

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Robert Lang on NHL.com". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2008-09-13. [dead link]
  2. ^ "2002-03 Washington Capitals (NHL)". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  3. ^ a b "Lang's hat trick lifts Habs over Rangers". CBC. 2009-01-08. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  4. ^ White, Joseph (February 28, 2004). "Red Wings acquire Lang from Capitals". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  5. ^ "Injuries may prove toughest opponents". ESPN. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  6. ^ "Blackhawks sign free agent center Robert Lang". USA Today. 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  7. ^ "Canadiens acquire Robert Lang from Blackhawks". CBC Sports. 2008-09-12. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Hokeje jsem se nabažil, nestýská se mi, říká Robert Lang. Veškerý čas teď v Kalifornii věnuje rodině". Hokej.cz. Retrieved 2013-12-27. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Milan Hejduk
Golden Hockey Stick
2004
Succeeded by
Jaromír Jágr