Last week we posted the first cut from the annual KingsCast summer forum – aka the LA Kings Media Roundtable. Along with a handful of other people who cover the team, we spent time debating key issues currently surrounding the franchise. In the initial video we focused on free agency, Dustin Brown’s upcoming contract and Tyler Toffoli. If you missed it, you can click here to view it now.
In part two below, the central topic is Anze Kopitar.
However, before you watch the conversation unfold, let’s set the table with a few stats. Since joining the NHL in 2006-07, Kopitar has had the following dry spells:
2006-07 – two goals in 20 games (Dec 23 – Feb 6)
2007-08 – three goals in 19 games (Dec 13 – Jan 22)
2008-09 – two goals in 20 games (Dec 15 – Feb 3)
2009-10 – three goals in 16 games (Dec 14 – Jan 21)
2010-11 – two goals in 25 games (Dec 18 – Feb 10)
2011-12 – one goal in 21 games (Nov 23 – Jan 7)
2012-13 – zero goals in final 16 games of the regular season, only two goals in final 25 games
Use this link to read Marcel Dionne’s comments on Kopitar:
Also, you may want to check out what Kings GM Dean Lombardi had to say about Kopitar during his end-of-season conference call here.
Finally, part three in the Roundtable series is expected to post later this week. If you’re craving even more content right now though, go back in time… click here to see cuts from the 2011 Roundtable, when we were talking power play and prospects.
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Not Darren Eliot says
A few thoughts.
1. I agree with the overall prevailing thought. Kopitar is a very good NHL player. But he’s not elite. He won’t rank among the elite players in the league until he becomes more consistent. I think everyone agrees he has the skills to be elite. What’s keeping him from being more consistent? Maybe it’s conditioning. Maybe he’s too unselfish. Could it be mental? I didn’t laugh when the gentleman suggested a sports psychologist. Honestly, I thought it wasn’t a bad idea at all.
2. I did laugh when Dennis Bernstein said Kopitar doesn’t have a great shot. I think he’s got a damned good shot and, as Mayor said, he needs to shoot more.
3. With all the drought talk we should remember that he still does a great job on the back check. If he only played on one side of the red line this would be a much bigger issue.
Let’s see if the disappearing act in the playoffs will motivate him to take that step to greatness. Very good-ness isn’t too shabby. But I think most agree he’s capable of more. We’ve seen him do it. He just needs to do it more often.
Brad Doty Touchdown! says
the panel didn’t mention Kopitar’s play in his own zone once. looking at the stats it is clear that Kopitar goes through a long drought each season around the same time. the coaching staff/trainers need to figure out if there is anything they can do to minimize this. if there is a bright side it’s that his next contract will not be $8 million a season…GKG.
Good roundtable but you guys are missing the point. Yes, Kopitar goes through stretches. Yes, he’s never been quite as good offensively as some Kings fans imagined he was. He’s never been a 100 point player. All these things are true.
But this was different. And no one asked the question, really, what happened this time. This wasn’t just a cold streak. He was SLOWER. He was WEAKER. He couldn’t ACCELERATE. He literally looked like he was injured. Not in a cold streak, not mentally unprepared to play, but PHYSICALLY WORSE. The explosive first step was gone… people talked about him not going to the middle, but even when normal Kopitar doesn’t go to the middle, he’s still a really good possession player dominating pucks along the wall and holding into possession. That was gone too because he didn’t have the first step or the strength to accelerate away from defenders and hold them off. So what happened? This wasn’t just the normal inconsistencies of Kopitar’s game like Dennis was alluding to. Dennis, you need to wake up man. Some of the stuff you say is just incredible and not in a good way.
Mayor, at least you mentioned Kopitar was out of shape, and maybe that’s it. But it sure looked like something was slowing him down a lot physically.
Also someone mentioned Mike Richards not being in shape to start the season. This really concerns me. I know he got it together in time to at least produce points in the playoffs, but overall, the whole season, every year this guy gets a little slower, and plays a little smaller, than the guy we saw play in Philadelphia four or five seasons ago. He still has the hockey sense and the hands and the smarts to put up points and be very good on the powerplay, but five on five, he used to also be a possession machine, and that’s just not happening anymore. Guys like Thornton are dominating him now, and only having Jeff Carter who is the opposite of Richards and keeps getting better on his wing has held him up.
Why is Richards being dominated by other good centers? Because while he was always small, he used to have that explosion in his legs, the power, the body strength, to make up for being short, sort of like you see Brad Marchand doing now. But ever since Richards came to LA, that power is gone, the strength is gone, he never hits anyone, he gets dominated in possession.
And remember this is one of the reasons Philadelphia traded him in the first place. He’d gotten demoted down to their third line, he wasn’t dominating anymore. But the impression Dean gave was that could be corrected. The impression Dean gave was Richards was maybe partying a little too much, maybe not taking the game as seriously as he needed to off the ice, and that maybe it was time to grow up a little and get back into top shape.
That’s all well and good, but what I’m saying is, this is his second season with the Kings, and if you’re saying he still wasn’t in shape to start the season yet again, that proves he’s not doing what Dean expected he would! That proves Richards still isn’t taking his conditioning seriously enough in the offseason, and it explains why we’re not getting full value out of him like the Flyers did four or five years ago. I want that same dominant player in a Kings jersey. We know he’s capable, but it just seems like he doesn’t want to do the workouts necessary in the offseason to become that player again. This is clearly someone who needs to work with a Gary Roberts in the offseason to get his game back.
This will probably be more a pivital year for dustin brown. When you look at 2012 with all the trade rumors, brown stepped up. When that happened it opened up so much ice for kopitar in the middle. Brown played across the entire offensive zone rather than just parking in front or trying to lean on a defensemen to the net. Bottom line, Brown steps up Kopitar gets more ice.