Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: anze kopitar
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
There’s on-ice business and off-ice business. In Los Angeles, nothing is more important than the latter, with the organization trying to win its third Stanley Cup in four years.
This season is a little different, as Dean Lombardi works to solidify the roster while the players work to handle the puck. Two important defencemen — Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin — are now locked-in long-term. They are trying to find common ground with Justin Williams, the 2014 Conn Smythe Trophy winner. Still to come are negotiations with the likes of Kyle Clifford, Martin Jones, Tanner Pearson, Jarret Stoll, Tyler Toffoli…
And Anze Kopitar.
Kopitar is under contract for one more year at $6.8 million. The Kings can extend him come July 1 (just like Tampa with Steven Stamkos), and he’s just as important to Manhattan Beach as Stamkos is to Clearwater. No one expects this to be a problem, as Kopitar is happy in Los Angeles and the team recognizes his exponential value.
continued plus 30 Thoughts...
from dan Robson of Sportsnet,
The first time Anze Kopitar brought the Stanley Cup to Slovenia, thousands of fans packed into a soccer field in his hometown, where a stage was erected in his honour. He was driven through the crowd in a horse-drawn carriage as fans stretched their arms over the top of the people in front of them to try and snap a picture of the local legend with his silver mug.
They chanted “Anze, Anze, Anze,” and a row of young hockey players on the stage tapped their sticks in salute. Kopitar hoisted the Cup high above his head and all those in attendance pretended to lift it with him. It was the first time a player from Slovenia had won the Stanley Cup, and the first time hockey’s grail had visited the picturesque nation of two million that borders Austria, Croatia, Italy and Hungary. Many of those people had stayed up through the nights to watch Kopitar and the Los Angeles Kings battle the New Jersey Devils in the 2012 NHL final.
He was a national hero, an icon—the “wonder boy,”as local media called him. “It’s kind of like Brad Pitt walking around here,” says Justin Williams, Kopitar’s longtime Kings teammate, who visited his friend’s hometown the summer they first won the Cup. “Everyone knows who he is.”
For nearly a decade, Kopitar has been one of the best all-around players in the game. And yet, it seems, not everyone knows who Kopitar is. Playing on the West Coast in a city of stars, his local celebrity is naturally muted. And though he’s been one of the most consistent and effective two-way centres in the game, he is routinely left out of discussions about hockey’s greatest players.
“I’ve been through this in the past, everybody has. In the beginning, we were winning games and I wasn’t worried as much. Now we’re not winning as many games.
“I think everybody will tell you on the team that it’s really not about the personal production. As long as we’re winning games, it doesn’t really matter who gets it done. Yes, in order for us to win games, I realize that I’ve got to be the guy.”
-Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings. More on Kopitar, who has 1 goal in his last 13 games, from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times.
For all of the discussion of Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu's respective legacies that you'll be reading over the next few days--deserved discussion at that--the last game of the Highway Series between the aformentioned Finns' Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings wasn't much of a contest, because the all but literally ran over Anaheim.
NHL.com's Curtis Zupke's recap emphasizes that point:
The highly anticipated state title game was decided in an opening 10-minute, three-goal blitz by the Kings that began with yet another clutch goal by Justin Williams, who tied Wayne Gretzky for second all-time with his sixth career Game 7 goal.
After Los Angeles chased 20-year-old rookie goalie John Gibson on Anze Kopitar's first goal of the series that made it 4-0, Kings fans chanted "This is our house!" It was appropriate after the Kings won three of four games at Honda Center and improved to 6-0 in elimination games in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs.
[Justin] Williams nudged his second attempt across the goal line from the crease on the power play at 4:30 of the first period. Cam Fowler tried to rim the puck around but it didn't get out, and Richards put it on net for Williams.
Carter made it 2-0 when he finished a breakaway with one of his signature backhands at 8:48 after he muscled past Hampus Lindholm in the neutral zone. Richards sent Anaheim tumbling further with his second goal of the playoffs at 15:12 for a 3-0 lead. Richards dropped a pass to Dwight King and then went to the net to pop in the rebound that Gibson couldn't control.
That made it three goals allowed on nine shots against Gibson, who didn't have his best game but wasn't helped by his skaters either. Trailing 2-0, the Ducks might have changed the complexion of the game on a penalty shot awarded to Perry at 14:08, but Quick poke-checked away his attempt.
Zupke continues, and here's the NHL's highlight clip, including Corey Perry's unsuccessful penalty shot:
Of course, the odds are heavily against Slovenia in a clash with the Swedes, who previously won Olympic gold in 1994 and 2006 and are the defending World Champions. But just making the final eight in Sochi is a triumph in itself. Slovenia has never played in any quarter-final in elite international hockey before, including the Yugoslavia era. It’s the biggest event in Slovenia’s young hockey history, dating back to 1992.
"Three days ago they said it was the biggest win, against Slovakia, in Slovenian history," said Slovenia's Sabahudin Kovacevic. "But now, I think this one is the biggest."
In front of 6,821 fans, Kovacevic set the tone with a goal and an assist, and Anze Kopitar and Jan Urbas added singles. David Rodman had two assists.
Kopitar said: "Yesterday I was talking to a certain someone who knows a lot about the game of hockey and he said that he’s been following us the last couple of years and he said we’ve done a tremendous work. You can just tell it’s a huge jump from where we were five years ago. To hear that from a guy like that, it’s unbelievable."
Asked to identify the "certain someone," Kopitar said: "A guy named Steve Yzerman."
It's 5:31 AM and I'm sitting in disbelief, having watched a very solid Slovakian team lay an absolute egg in Sochi--and the Slovenians play wonderful, fantastic hockey en route to a 3-1 win, earned after forty minutes of scoreless hockey and moribund Slovakian showings against a plucky, speedy team, which gave the crazy Slovenian fans at the Bolshoy Ice Dome all sorts of reasons to cheer
For Red Wings fans, watching Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco play dominant hockey is fine and all, but Tatar and Jurco were by far the best players on team that was made mincemeat by a line of Anze Kopitar (1 goal, 5 shots, and Slovenia's only NHL representative) and current KHL'er Jan Mursak, and at the other end of the ice, Robert Kristan stopped 27 of 28 shots--Jurco's shutout-spoiler came with only 18 seconds left in regulation--while Zdeno Chara looked all alone on defense and Jaroslav Halak was just as shaky as St. Louis Blues fans feared he'd be at the Olympics.
The Slovakians never seemed to recover after Tomas Kopecky left the game in the 3rd period thanks to an inadvertent elbow to the head, as the AP's Larry Lage noted...
Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider has more on this plus another video to watch.
Kind of a ho-hum first game.
Kings had 25 total shots while the Devils managed only 18.
Hopefully we will see more offense or at least offensive challenges on Saturday.
added 11:25pm, Here’s the Kopitar game winner via Jim Hughson of HNIC.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The Kings’ ability to absorb and adapt to Sutter’s message is one of the primary reasons they are 10-1 in the playoffs and halfway to qualifying for their first Stanley Cup final in 19 years. The Kings lead the Phoenix Coyotes 2-0 in the Western Conference final, heading into Thursday’s third game, a game in which the Coyotes will play without centre Martin Hanzal, who was suspended one game by the NHL for a dangerous hit from behind against Kopitar’s linemate, Dustin Brown.
Brown and goaltender Jonathan Quick are the Kings’ leading Conn Smythe trophy contenders, but Kopitar is No. 3 with a bullet, and in the midst of a strong playoff of his own. Through 11 games, he is second on the team in scoring with 13 points, one behind Brown. Kopitar is the Kings’ perennial scoring leader, a player whose ability to play at both ends of the rink is what makes him so valued by the team’s coaching staff and his teammates.
“I don’t want to say Kopi’s underrated, but he’s very underrated in the D zone, with how hard that he plays,” said linemate Justin Williams. “You respect that as a winger, knowing that he’s hard on guys in the defensive zone. We get a lot more time in the offensive zone, because he’s so good in our zone.”
Best goal of the night, no doubt, Anze Kopitar’s shorty against the Blues followed below by the best hit of the night from T.J. Oshie on Dustin Penner.
from Bill Roose of DetroitRedWings.com,
Anze Kopitar knew the day that two Slovenians playing against one another in the same NHL game would come sooner than later.
That day is today.
Kopitar leads his Los Angeles Kings into Joe Louis Arena tonight to face-off against the Red Wings, and his countryman and friend, Jan Mursak.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a couple of years now, since he’s been in the Wings’ organization,” said Kopitar, of the Wings’ rookie forward. “He’s a really good player and I knew it was just a matter of time before he was going to break through and come up with the big boys and play.”
However, a serious injury in the preseason could have postponed this day, but Mursak rebounded from his fractured ankle and has fit nicely into the Wings’ lineup since mid-January making this historical day possible.
“I didn’t know if this game would happen this year,” Kopitar said, “so I’m happy for him that he’s been in the lineup consistently now, and I’m looking forward to tonight.”
“I think Kopitar’s at the point in his career where he has to decide what he wants to do. Does he want to be the guy? If I was him, he should be looking at the situation and what’s going with (Evgeni) Malkin. When (Sidney) Crosby was playing, Malkin was happy to be second fiddle. Then, when Crosby went out, Malkin took over. He wins games on his own. Kopi has to do that! You can’t wait for wingers. You gotta make it happen. Some nights he’s gotta be the guy. And if he’s not, now it’s getting to the point in his game where it’s going to be tough to get up to the level he wants to be. Everbody knows him, everybody knows how he plays.
“He should be a little bit more - he reminds me a little bit of Mats Sundin. They’re big guys, but when they get close to the net, they’re not aggressive enough. They have to get these guys off their backs because they’re big guys. If they’re soft there, then you know what, those soft goals don’t come.
“I still have confidence in him. But, sometimes, management are too nice to their stars. He needs a wake-up call.”
-former LA Kings great Marcel Dionne on Anze Kopitar, via MayorsManor.
thanks to Jewels From The Crown for the pointer
Maybe Anze Kopitar should take the advice.
Brad Stuart on Anze Kopitar…
In my last article on left wings, a few of you mentioned the positional dilemmas that we seem to face when drafting forwards. This is a great point, since not only do position eligibilities change from league to league (eg. Yahoo/ESPN/CBS), but also from year to year. As well, we also need to keep our eye on forwards with dual position eligibility.
Filed in: Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, thegoods13, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: anze+kopitar, brad+richards, eric+staal, evgeni+malkin, fantasy+hockey, henrik+sedin, ian+gooding, jonathan+toews, nicklas+backstrom, ryan+getzlaf, ryan+kesler, sidney+crosby, steven+stamkos, the+goods
from Rich Hammond at Kings.com,
Kings center Anze Kopitar is scheduled to undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair torn ligaments in his right ankle and is expected to be ready for the start of next season.
Based on initial diagnosis, done immediately after Kopitar was hurt in Saturday afternoon’s game against Colorado, there had been hope that Kopitar’s recovery time would be limited to six weeks, but that depended on the results of an MRI.
That MRI, done Monday morning, revealed torn ligaments caused by a high ankle sprain, the team said, and Kopitar isn’t likely to return to the ice until the middle of summer.
Those backwards falls sure are not fun to watch. Keep an eye on his right leg.
No further update from the Kings.
added 6:54pm, Kings announce broken right ankle. Will have MRI on Monday.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Anze Kopitar should be a 100-point scorer.
He has shown he’s capable of dominating games and carrying the Kings on his shoulders. At a solid 6 feet 3 and 225 pounds he can create room for himself and his linemates while making world-class plays at top speed.
He’s also capable of plunging into bottomless ruts.
He had 32 points in the Kings’ first 22 games last season, but after linemate Ryan Smyth suffered a rib injury Kopitar disappeared, scoring two goals and eight points in his next 20 games. He led the Kings in scoring for the third straight season — the first player to do that since Wayne Gretzky — but with 81 points in 82 games.
The 23-year-old Slovenian is repeating that pattern this season. Playing with an ever-changing cast of wingers he had a decent start and raised his game in early December, when he collected six goals and 10 points in his first six games. But he faded again, going nine games without a goal before scoring Saturday. He was blanked in his next two games, both losses.
Part 2: Coaching Team Slovenia
6. You have a ton of international hockey experience, both as a player for Team USA and as a coach in the Swiss and Italian national leagues. What are the strongest traits that you bring to your job as Head Coach of Team Slovenia?
I certainly think my background as a coach and as a successful international player help my reputation with the Slovenian team. I have learned that there are many different ways to coach a team and many different systems of play that can be successful. I feel that I have learned to evaluate my players on my teams, and then to adapt to their strengths to determine our style of play, and also try to cover for our weaknesses.
It’s time, once again, to raise a glass and offer a toast (figuratively, of course – or not) to the NHL’s stars from a night ago:
***Cheers to Mathieu Garon of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who warded off a Philadelphia Flyers comeback attempt to the tune of 28 saves after goals from rookie Kyle Wilson (his first in the NHL) and Derick Brassard established an early 2-0 lead for the home squad. At 5-3-0, the Blue Jackets are still buried beneath Nashville, Detroit, Chicago and St. Louis in the Western Conference’s Central Division standings, making last night’s key performances from their backup goaltender and a couple of young stars that much more important.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: andrei+kostitsyn, anze+kopitar, derick+brassard, jarret+stoll, kyle+wilson, mathieu+garon, tomas+plekanec
Today’s three cheers for last night’s top performers in NHL action:
***Cheers to Chicago’s Marty Turco, who made 36 saves and held the fort for the ‘Hawks in the shootout for a 2-1 decision over the Vancouver Canucks. Turco only had to make one save in the breakaway tiebreaker, on Mikael Samuelsson, but Roberto Luongo stopped none at the other end and the Blackhawks earned the extra point in turn. Luongo was good during the actual game, making 31 saves of his own and earning third star honors, but what’s going on with his early season numbers? A 3.38 goals-against and an .888 save percentage isn’t exactly the Bobby Lu Canucks fans expect, nor is the 2-3-2 mark for their club. Surely, it’s only a matter of time before he (and the team) turns it around. (Right?)
Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: andrei+loktionov, anze+kopitar, brad+richards, dan+boyle, drew+doughty, jeff+skinner, marty+turco, mikael+samulesson, rick+nash, roberto+luongo, steve+mason
LAKings.com: As you look forward to the upcoming season, what are your thoughts?
Kopitar: After Terry Murray’s first season [going into last season] we said we were going to make the playoffs. Now that’s the goal and we’re expected to be there. There’s going to be a little more pressure, it’s going to be a little more harder, but I think last year’s experience is going to make a difference. We know what we have to do to get there now and know what to do when we get there. It will be a little eaasier with from the experience standpoint, but a little harder from the pressure standpoinit. We have to take that pressure in a positive way and build on that.
a few more questions and answers…
This time, the LA Kings come out with the victory, thanks to a Kopitar powerplay goal.
... watch them all in one video.
“The first thing that comes to my mind is our power play was struggling a little bit and we all know what he could do on the power play. And just with that shot, poise, everything he can make a power play unit better and definitely help us.”
-Anze Kopitar of the LA Kings on how Ilya Kovalchuk could help the Kings. More on the Kings from Helene Elliott at the Fabulous Forum.
“We had — particularly, our line — had five times when three guys were laying in the crease, and we couldn’t get the puck by everybody. Howard, he was playing good, no question about that, but there were just a couple lucky bounces here and there, and we could have won that game.”
-Anze Kopitar of the LA Kings and the play of Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard. More from Kopitar via Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider.
Phaneuf received 5 for boarding and a game. Kopitar was OK and maybe missed one shift.
They’re first in the division, and divisional games are always important. Too bad we gave them a point, but we’re not going to get greedy. We got two, and that’s the most important thing for us. I think we’re right on their heels now, and we’ve got to push.”
-Anze Kopitar of the LA Kings after they defeated the San Jose Sharks in OT last night. More from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider.
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
Having one of the game’s best young talents certainly helps. Kopitar has clicked with new linemate Ryan Smyth, who is willing to do the dirty work required to score goals.
Kings captain Dustin Brown sees a bit of Smyth’s influence rubbing off on Kopitar, who now is winning those battles in the corners. He’s also competing harder than ever.
“A couple years ago, he’d get pushed around and the puck would get away from him,” Brown said. “This year, he’s saying, ‘That’s not going to happen.’”
That’s added strength. It’s also confidence.
Anze Kopitar with a water bottle ritual.
from Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
“I was here for three weeks,’’ Kopitar said of his work with the Kings’ training staff. “I feel I did everything in my power to prepare for this season.’‘
Kopitar said he wouldn’t shy away from high expectations for the Kings this season.
“Everybody is expecting the playoffs,’’ Kopitar said. “We have to put some pressure on ourselves. ... That’s just the way it is.’‘
An all access look at Los Angeles Kings superstar Anze Kopitar takes us for a tour of Manhattan Beach with his family.
via Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
If the excitement of tonight’s season opener isn’t enough for you, this should get you going…late last night—very late—Anze Kopitar agreed to a contract extension with the Kings. I don’t know the length and value of the contract yet…
added 12:48pm, Seven year deal and read more about the signing at LAKings.com & thanks to a KK reader for the pointer.
added 1:58pm: Deal is for $47.6 million, via TSN.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Kopitar will face two of his L.A. teammates, Dustin Brown and Patrick O’Sullivan on Team USA Sunday. Today he faces Kings’ assistant coach Mike Johnston.
“He’s a star player,” says Johnston, a veteran of seven world championships. “If you are looking for a player to build a team around, he’s that kind of guy. He’s a key guy to what we’re trying to put together in L.A. He’s already capable of dominating games. He has size, poise and maturity.”
Kopitar’s goal of holding Canada to five goals?
“Don’t believe him. He’s going to go out and try and control and dominate the game,” said Johnston
Canadian captain Shane Doan sees a lot of the young Slovenian playing against him with the Phoenix Coyotes.
“He’s big and strong and he has a great shot. Even though you have guys on him, he’s capable of beating them. He creates space for the guys he plays with.”
Colorado Avalanche right wing Milan Hejduk, Detroit Red Wings goaltender Dominik Hasek and Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending December 9.