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Sutter on Kopitar: ‘He’s a special player’

Mar 18, 2013, 10:10 PM EDT

anzekopitargetty Getty Images

If a highly paid All-Star can be “underrated,” then Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar might just fit that description.

That could be especially true when it comes to two-way play. Head coach Darryl Sutter gushed with praise regarding all of the strengths that the 25-year-old brings to the ice to LA Kings Insider.

“He’s the best all-around centerman that I’ve coached, period. Period,” Sutter said. “Faceoffs, last minute, first minute, penalty killer. Plays against everybody’s top player, whether it’s a defenseman, a center, a checking role or an offensive role. He plays 20-plus minutes. Doesn’t take penalties. It’s the whole deal. He can play it whatever way we want. Do you want to come and get me? Come and get me…He can play it any way we want. And you know what? The best thing about Kopitar is he’s getting better. And when they do the comparisons with guys that are like that, there’s only a handful of them.”

The Slovenian is also one of the biggest skill players in the game. Sutter believes that he’s really learned how to use that to his advantage on a more regular basis.

“Big guy,” Kopitar said. “The biggest adjustment that he’s made since I’ve been here … is playing that way all the time, and I think the playoffs last year, that stimulated him into seeing the ability to stay with it instead of getting frustrated with anything that’s got to do with numbers. Just to stay with it. He’s a special player.”

Kopitar, Sutter and the Kings face the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday night.

  1. manchestermiracle - Mar 18, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    A good guy, too, who appreciates where he is and what he’s doing. He’s the kind of hard-working player who is easy to root for. His trip home to Slovenia with the Cup was a great time for him and everyone who has supported him. That country is stunning. Keep it up, Kopi.

  2. misterchainbluelightning - Mar 18, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    There hasn’t been much competition at Center for Sutter to say this, only a 50 goal scoring J.R. is in the conversation.

  3. 19to77 - Mar 18, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    He’s pretty much Marian Hossa at centre, so it’s not surprising he’s freaking great.

  4. blomfeld - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:26 AM


    While our vanguard is “teeming” with gifted & lethal warriors, it’s quite possible that comrade Kopitar may be the “best of the best”. His accomplishments thus far speak for themselves and his dedication to the cause is beyond refute. Yet the kicker as comrade O’Brien notes, is that it only gets better from here! :)

    GO ANZE !!!


  5. kingsforever - Mar 19, 2013 at 2:16 AM

    Omg never compare Hossa to Kopitar. It’s insulting to Kopitar. Ugh Hossa

  6. thehighcountrybear - Mar 19, 2013 at 2:37 AM

    Kopitar’s a credit to everything good in the game of hockey!

    Unlike the vastly overrated Hossa, he’s completely unselfish with the puck. Hossa hangs on and hangs on, all in the hope he’ll have a chance to unleash his single weapon, the low wrist shot stick side long since sussed-out by goalies League wide [ no moves to speak of, just determination while collecting other people’s garbage ]?

    Kopitar’s a complete player, Hossa one dimensional and that typically in a horizontal plane…

  7. loyallakingsfan35yrs - Mar 19, 2013 at 4:19 AM

    Well said highcountrybear, well said!

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