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Avalanche Select Milan Hejduk As New Team Captain

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MILAN HEJDUK
Colorado Avalanche right wing Milan Hejduk (23) of the Czech Republic skates against Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) of Sweden during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey) | AP File

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Colorado Avalanche have settled on a leader, picking veteran forward Milan Hejduk (MEE'-lahn HAY'-dook) to serve as team captain.

The 35-year-old Hejduk will don the "C" on his sweater for the first time Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

Instead of picking his captain before the season, Avalanche coach Joe Sacco waited to see who emerged as the leader through the early part of the season. Sacco went with the experienced Hejduk over other possible candidates such as Matt Duchene or Paul Stastny.

Hejduk is the third captain to lead the Avalanche, following join Joe Sakic and Adam Foote. Hejduk has been a permanent assistant captain since the 2008-09 season.

He leads the team with seven goals.