LA Kings Lombardi – ‘Kopitar may be the new Blake Griffin’

Mike Richards, Mike Richards, Mike Richards.

Don’t worry, we’ll get back to him later – there are plenty more notes and quotes from today’s press luncheon that I’ll post later.

How about we shift gears though for a moment…

Among the myriad of topics that Kings GM Dean Lombardi waxed poetically about for more than 30 minutes after the main session were some of the injuries to key players coming out of last season.

We didn’t get much on how Justin Williams is recovering from his recent shoulder surgery, other than Lombardi saying he was “more than fine” and left LA a few weeks ago.

Not that the GM wasn’t in the mood to share news on Williams, it was just a case of him being ready to go deep on Anze Kopitar. Only this time Lombardi wasn’t preparing to talk about one of his favorite topics, baseball – however, he did through a change-up at us.

He first said Kopitar is ‘close’ when asked if he’s back skating. “I heard that he was running,” shared Lombardi. “I don’t know if he went out for a twirl, it’s not skating per se. Bottom line though, everything I heard last week is he’s way ahead of schedule.”

Dean was just getting warmed up too…

“Kopi’s worked hard. I’m hoping this turns into a Blake Griffin (situation)…they said how hard he worked and appreciated the game,” Lombardi said, comparing his young center’s situation to that of the Clippers draft pick, who missed his entire NBA rookie year after damaging his knee in pre-season. “I sensed when he (Kopitar) left here, how hard he was working on his upper body. I had never seen him work that hard before. I think part of it was when you finally get hurt and you have to sit out…I hear Blake Griffin talk about that, ‘In the end, it was really good for me to appreciate what I have.'”

Lombardi concluded by saying, “I (get) a new sense of vengeance and focus from Kopi. I’m hoping I’m right. But, everything I’m getting is, he’s way ahead of schedule.”

[UPDATE – OK, OK…if you just can’t wait any longer, the first Mike Richards article is up now (link) – he looks ahead to the first game of next season, talks ‘hatred’ for the New York Rangers and about fighting Brandon Dubinsky]

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