Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings is a special player, from the point-per-game offense (25 points in 26 games this season) to a defensive game that had some chatting him up for a Selke nod last season.
It’s one thing to watch and appreciate Kopitar. It’s another to listen to an old hockey guy like his coach Darryl Sutter put him over, as he did this afternoon.
“He’s the best all-around centerman that I’ve coached, period. Period. Faceoffs, last minute, first minute, penalty killer. Plays against everybody’s top player, whether it’s a defenseman, a center, a checking role or an offensive role. He plays 20-plus minutes. Doesn’t take penalties. It’s the whole deal. He can play it whatever way we want.
"Do you want to come and get me? Come and get me…He can play it any way we want. And you know what? The best thing about Kopitar is he’s getting better. And when they do the comparisons with guys that are like that, there’s only a handful of them.”
Come and get me!
So, the takeaway here is that Anze Kopitar is a better center than Jeremy Roenick, Bernie Nicholls, Vincent Damphousse and Patrick Marleau, all of whom Sutter coached …
The Kings face the Coyotes at Staples tonight.
If you were to slot Kopitar in among the NHL’s top centers, where would he go? Top of the noggin, I’d go Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Toews … and then you have a grouping of Kopitar, Ryan Getzlaf, John Tavares, Pavel Datsyuk, Joe Thornton and Henrik Sedin to sort out.
(Ed. Note: Forgot to add Best Player In The World Claude Giroux into the mix at the end.)
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