In the first period of Los Angeles’ 3-0 win Tuesday night at the Scottrade Center, St. Louis forward Ryan Reaves struck Anze Kopitar’s head with what appeared to be either his forearm, elbow or the butt-end of his stick. This happened away from the play in the Blues’ defensive zone, and though Kopitar returned to take a defensive zone faceoff in the Kings’ end during a short penalty killing shift late in the first period, he did not return to the bench or the ice to begin the second.
“I talked to him after. He’s feeling better. That’s good,” Darryl Sutter said. When asked whether the center had visited the “quiet room” to gauge whether he had suffered a potential concussion, Sutter replied, “Yeah, that’s where he was. Obviously, protocol.” No other details about the severity of the injury were shared. A member of the Kings’ public relations staff said that the injury was an upper-body injury.
Though Sutter’s initial answer offered a glimmer of optimism, more will be learned on Kopitar’s status after the team returns to Southern California and reports to practice at Toyota Sports Center on Wednesday. Los Angeles hosts Columbus on Thursday.
“We all know what Kopi means to us and you take someone like that out of the lineup, it’s a big hole,” said Jeff Carter, who logged 23:30 of ice time and scored the game-winning goal. “But I though collectively, as a group, we had wingers playing center and pretty much every shift it was a different line combo. So everybody really stepped up and took charge. A lot of young guys really stepped up, too. Like I said, you don’t want to lose Kopi but it was a good opportunity for those guys to be in a tough game like that. It was a battle there tonight and I thought they did a really good job.”
Kopitar has been remarkably durable during his NHL career and played in 330 consecutive games between March 21, 2007 and March 26, 2011, a club record. Since debuting in the 2006-07 season, he has appeared in 695 of a possible 716 games.
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