Saturday, October 11, 2008

Seven Nation Army

Wow. Didn't see that one coming. You know, you wake up in the morning, you check the hockey folder on your RSS feeds, you browse and you never expect to see anything all that exciting, especially related to the Los Angeles Kings. And then... and then you see this:


Like most Kings fans, the first time that Kopitar came to my attention, was during the 06-07 pre-season. Sure, he was drafted 11th overall in 2005, but what does that really mean when it comes to Los Angeles Kings recent first round selections? Jens Karlsson, Denis Grebeshkov or Lauri Tukonen anyone? But there was concrete buzz on Kopitar in training camp and it continued into the pre-season. And then opening night against the Ducks... well he faked Chris Pronger out of his jock.

Kopitar has the reach and the skating style of Mario Lemieux. I could never get on the Lemieux bandwagon, I was and remain a committed Gretzky guy, but every time I watched Lemieux skate, it was like he was gliding around on the ice, while everyone was working their butt off to catch up with him. This is how Kopitar skates. He's deceptively fast and has the hands of someone half his size. For a hockey team that had been devoid of a home grown superstar for nearly 20 years (Luc Robitaille if you are scoring at home) Anze already is the next Kings jersey up in the rafters. Actually, not so much in the rafters as tucked away in the corner, high on the Staples Center wall with the others. There is a reason this contract is the Kings longest since Wayne Gretzky.

2 memories of Anze's play really stick out for me. The first was a goal he scored during his rookie season against the New Jersey Devils. It was in a shootout against Martin Brodeur, soon to be the greatest goaltender of all time. This video shows not only how great that goal was, but also how crazy-fanatic some King fans have become about Anze.

Is Carmina Burana the most overused music in homemade movie trailers? Maybe Kid Rock's "Bawitdaba".

The other image that sticks in my mind of Kopitar is from last season and also during a shootout. (Can you believe the NHL never wanted to have these things before?) If you've ever played hockey before, this is the move you try all the time in practice. But never in a game, unless you are Peter Forsberg. Anze used it in a shootout. Be sure to check out the two dudes on the left hand side, just above the boards. That is NOT my fellow Half Season Ticket Holder and I.

Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Patrick O'Sullivan. Your Los Angeles Kings 1st Line until at least the end of the 2010-2011 NHL Season.

Or until one of them gets hurt.


Brian said...

When you say Lemiuex, I assume you mean Denis Lemiuex.

Chris Kontos said...

Too soon. Paul Newman just died dude.

Being from Jersey, I'd expect you to say Claude Lemieux.