More than just an 82-game season at stake for Anze Kopitar

Kopitar Mora Sweden LA Kings MayorsManorAfter months of posturing by both sides, the NHL made what looks like the first serious proposal yesterday to the NHLPA. While a few items might need some tweaking around the edges in the coming days, the deal is based around a 50/50 split of revenue – long believed to be around the allocation both sides would eventually agree to.

Some of the proposal’s finer points include a five-year term limit on new contracts, a reduction in the length of Entry Level Contracts (from three years to two) and AHL salaries now counting against the salary cap – something that would prevent teams from stashing high-priced (and under performing) players in the minor leagues.

Putting those issues to the side for a moment, another large piece of the puzzle is the NHL’s desire to have each team play an 82-game schedule this season. Part of the reason is because it’s believed the average NHL team derives around 50% of its revenue from ticket sales (compared to the 25-35% for most NBA, NFL and MLB teams). Said differently, the owners lose more through ticket sales than they do through TV revenue. Thus, they want to get as many games in as possible.

Which brings us to Anze Kopitar.

Obviously, all the NHL players who signed in Europe will be coming back to North America once the lockout is over. For Kopitar, a November 2nd start date to the NHL season means training camp in LA getting underway around October 26th.

That would not only cut his time with Mora short, but also prevent him from representing his country in next month’s Euro Ice Hockey Challenge. Games are scheduled for November 8-10 in Ljubljani, Slovenia.

Just this week, his father (the coach of the national team) announced a roster that was to include Anze and his younger brother Gasper.  Slovenia is in a bracket with Belarus, Denmark and Japan; and the tournament is viewed as a warm-up for the IIHF World Championships played the following summer.

As for his ‘regular’ team in Europe, Mora won their third consecutive game yesterday – their longest winning streak since Kopitar debuted with the club in late September.

Their next game is Friday vs. Almtuna.  However, the date that he probably has circled on the calendar is next Tuesday. That’s when Mora is scheduled to play Södertälje, the club he was with when the LA Kings selected him in the first round of the 2005 NHL Draft.

Knowing that every player loves going up against his former team, how fitting would it be if Kopitar’s final game with Mora was vs. his old club next Tuesday …and then he returned to LA to begin the Kings’ defensive of their 2012 Stanley Cup?

Seems like the perfect ending to his entire adventure.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Friday’s games in Europe – updates on Bernier, Kopitar and Martinez

The Kopitar brothers featured on episode of ‘Cribs’ in Sweden

Full game video: watch Anze Kopitar’s debut with Mora vs Djurgarden

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Comments

  1. Kopitar!

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  1. [...] years now. So it would be pretty nice, especially playing at home in Ljubljani (Slovenia, where the tournament is scheduled to take place) and playing with Gasper a little more before I go back to LA. But it isn’t what it is. If it [...]

  2. [...] More than just an 82-game season at stake for Kopitar – all new interview with Anze [...]