I will fully admit that I stole that title from a reader’s comment last night, but I thought it was really sharp. As was Anze Kopitar again last night, as he pushed his team-high goal total to 13 (in 16 games) and his league-high point total to 26. Kopitar’s play is so consistently strong that reporters are running out of original questions to ask about him, but one came up last night, when Terry Murray was asked if he had raised his expectations for Kopitar since the start of the season.
MURRAY: Yeah, they’re getting there. We’re looking for him, that line, to be an elite line in the game, absolutely. They are our No. 1 line, and when you have that kind of expectation put on you, as a coaching staff, as an organization, then there’s a need to respond. I’m seeing a more consistent kind of effort, that shows he wants to be that player. Now that’s up there at the top of the scoring in the National Hockey League, that kind of internal pressure, or response, is there. That’s what drives players to the next level, and that’s where you become a great player. It’s whenever you have those internal instincts taking over, and it looks like, at times, they are.”
A note: When Kopitar scores a goal, the Kings have an 8-1 record this season. When he doesn’t, they’re 2-3-2. Moreover, he seems to have an impact on his teammates. In games in which Kopitar scores, the Kings are averaging 4.7 goals per game. When he doesn’t score, they’re averaging 2.0 goals per game. Even if you subtract the goals Kopitar himself scored, it’s still a wide difference.
Heading off to the 11 a.m. practice now…