What’s wrong with Anze Kopitar? That’s been the question of the day for a couple weeks now, at least in terms of Kopitar’s ability to put the puck in the net. Kopitar’s streak without a goal has reached 13 games, and he has not scored a goal since Ryan Smyth left the lineup with an upper-body injury.
So, who better than Smyth to analyze Kopitar’s game? I asked Smyth today about Kopitar’s scoring slump, and if he had any insight as to what might be causing it.
SMYTH: “I’ve been watching him fairly closely. Everybody goes through those funks. He’s a key player, so teams key on him, and that makes it a lot harder at times. He will come through it. It’s just a matter of when. When it does, it comes in bunches. Look at Brad Richardson. He wasn’t scoring, but he was competing and playing hard and doing the right things in his own zone. Then it comes in bunches. In this case, it’s going to happen for him too.”
Then, I asked Smyth if, through watching Kopitar play, he had picked up anything in Kopitar’s game that he thought needed to be changed and/or improved…
SMYTH: “Sometimes it’s just getting a shot on net, not targeting a shot but just getting it on net and having a teammate there for the rebound of whatever. There were goals earlier in the year when he was just firing on net and they would find a way in. Sometimes you have to get back to the basics when you’re pressing a little bit. He’s been around for four years now, so that’s second nature to him.”