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February 22, 2013 2:58 pm

February 22 practice quotes: Anze Kopitar

On the team’s recent even strength play:
“Yeah, I think it’s coming around…We had a tough 35 minutes in Chicago, and after that we woke up and had a decent period – the third period in Chicago – so that was good. After that, I think we were starting to play solid hockey again.”

On the chemistry and the possession game with Dustin Brown and Justin Williams:
“Yeah, we had a couple of rough games, if you pick out a few. Edmonton was not the best possession. Chicago was not the best possession. But in Calgary, I thought we managed the puck pretty well, especially through the neutral zone. That pretty much sets up offensive zone time, anyway, and once we were in the offensive zone we were able to make plays and get open and get some quality chances.”

On the keys to slowing down a fast Colorado team:
“The way you slow them down is really a puck possession game. We want to make sure we make strong plays again through the neutral zone, first and foremost, and then holding on to it in the offensive zone. By no means are they a big team, but they have a lot of skill and speed. I guess we have to use our ability to protect pucks to our advantage, and we’ll see what happens.”

On managing and protecting the puck, especially through the neutral zone:
“I guess it goes back into a little bit of a D-zone, too. For me, as a centerman, I’ve got to get low. I’ve got to make sure that I give support to our D-man. The last couple of years with Dewey, it was fairly easy, because obviously he makes really good decisions on the ice and really good plays. So every time that I’ve gone through the neutral zone with speed, he was able to find me. It backs them off a little bit. It gives me a little bit of room, and then I can make plays off that. Through the neutral zone, you want to make sure that you have a good support, that you’re not dumping pucks in places where you can’t get it back. Every time you hit the blue line wiuth speed, for the most part it backs the D-men off and you can make plays off the rush.”

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