World Cup-date: Doughty, Muzzin face Kopitar, Gaborik - LA Kings Insider

There are more interesting things to be talking about in the broad scope of international competition than how the United States was eliminated after two World Cup games and will return home with its tail between its legs. Like how Christian Pulisic, in the week of his 18th birthday, scored a goal and added two assists in a Bundesliga game to go along with his three goals in eight appearances with the senior national team.

Apologies if I’m confusing one World Cup for the other, and for not Sticking To Hockey.

But if you’d like to read more about the United States’ failure at the resuscitation of the second-most prestigious international hockey tournament, there are literally hundreds of articles to choose from. Have at it.

There has been ample discussion, as you may note in the link to the stories above, that this tournament has been a referendum of “grit” versus “skill.” The United States erred in aspects of player selection and execution, but that’s an oversimplification. Obviously the acquisition of skill is eminently desirable; when the Kings traded for Marian Gaborik in 2014, it was because they self-identified a skill deficiency and sought to correct that. This current Kings team could still use an additional trace of skill, though don’t tell me that Anze Kopitar, or Drew Doughty, or Tyler Toffoli, or Alec Martinez, or Gaborik don’t have it. But it isn’t as if winning at hockey is easily solved by acquiring the most skill or speed. To win in hockey, teams have to be built from the back out, with strong goaltending and a deep defensive corps led by a dynamic minutes-eater. Letang. Keith. Doughty. Chara. Lidstrom. There has to be excellent structure and play away from the puck. There has to be a committed buy-in to the coaches and staff and the team’s systems that lead to clear strengths in possessing the puck and holding an advantage in playing in the attacking end. Pittsburgh, though it had ample skill, won this year’s Stanley Cup because they connected on virtually all of these facets. To win championships, don’t forget Sutter’s Law. I don’t know if this checklist is applicable to a tournament in which a season may end after two games.

There are two games today. First, the one with actual advancement implications: Sweden faces North America at 12:00 p.m. PT.

Then, Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik and Europe face Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin and Canada. It would be the first World Cup game with four Kings in it, because Muzzin is drawing in to his first round robin game.

TOURNAMENT STATISTICS (Through September 20)
Anze Kopitar (EUR): 2 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 Pts, -1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Marian Gaborik (EUR): 2 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 1 Pts, +1, 2 PIM, 9 SOG
Jonathan Quick (USA): 2 GP (2 GS), 0-2-0, 3.56 GAA, .863 Sv%, 0 SHO
Drew Doughty (CAN): 2 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 Pts, +3, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Jake Muzzin (CAN): 0 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 Pts, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG

Don’t think we didn’t see those seven shots on goal against the Czechs, Gabby.

Group A
Canada 2-0-0 / 4 Pts / 2 ROW / 10 GF / 2 GA / +8 GD
Europe 2-0-0 / 4 Pts / 1 ROW / 6 GF / 2 GA / +4 GD
Czech Republic 0-1-1 / 1 Pts / 0 ROW / 2 GF / 9 GA / -7 GF
United States 0-2-2 / 0 Pts / 2 GF / 7 GA / -5 GD

Group B
Sweden 2-0-0 / 4 Pts / 2 ROW / 4 GF / 1 GA / +3 GD
North America 1-1-0 / 2 Pts / 1 ROW / 7 GF / 5 GA / +2 GD
Russia 1-1-0 / 2 Pts / 1 ROW / 5 GF / 5 GA / 0 GD
Finland 0-2-2 / 0 Pts / 0 ROW / 1 GF / 6 GA / -5 GD

World Cup of Hockey - Media Day

World Cup of Hockey - Practice

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Team Canada Practice

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Team Europe v Czech Republic

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Team Europe v Czech Republic

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Team Europe v Czech Republic

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Team Europe v Czech Republic

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Canada v United States

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Canada v United States

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Canada v United States

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Canada v United States

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Canada v United States

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Canada v United States

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Canada v United States

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Canada v United States

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Canada v United States

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Canada v United States

Photos courtesy of Andre Ringuette, Gregory Shamus, Bruce Bennett, Minas Panagiotakis, Vaughn Ridley, Getty Images, World Cup of Hockey

Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left

Bio

Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
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Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.
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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

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

Bio

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.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

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

Bio

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.

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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

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

Bio

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.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

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

Bio

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.

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