Sweden not likely to be neutral site - LA Kings Insider

The Kings are the designated home team for tomorrow’s season opener against the New York Rangers in Stockholm, but it probably won’t sound that way in the arena. The Kings have only one European player — Anze Kopitar — but the Rangers have two natives of Sweden, goalie Henrik Lundqvist and defenseman Tim Erixon, who might make his NHL debut tomorrow. Not surprisingly, in his post-practice press conference, Murray was asked about Lundqvist, who is revered in Sweden in large part because he helped the national team win the gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics.

MURRAY: “Lundqvist is a premier goalie in the league. He has played tremendous hockey for the New York Rangers, from the time that he was a member of the time from the draft. I think the Rangers struck some gold there. He’s a top goalie. I don’t think he has a lot of weaknesses. He’s a player who plays deep in his net. He’s a very skilled player. He’s a reaction goaltender. He plays big. He’s a much bigger-looking goaltender in the net than what he actually is, physically. We’re going to have to make sure that we get people in his face, in his eyes. If he’s able to see the puck, wherever it’s being shot from, he’s going to be able to stop it. We have to make sure we’re doing things offensively to make it more difficult for him.’’

Murray was then asked about the probability of playing in front of a ostensibly neutral crowd that, in reality, will probably be cheering loudly for Lundqvist (and the Rangers by extension).

MURRAY: “It might be more of a challenge for him. Flip it over the other way. He’s at home. Maybe he feels he needs to be really good and put on a little bit of a show, or entertain maybe. But no matter what, this is going to be an exciting game. It’s great for the fans in Sweden. Sweden has produced so many great hockey players over the years, and this is just trying to push the NHL game along in Europe and give the fans another live game. I’m excited about it.’’

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.