Mar 18, 2013, 10:10 PM EDT
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.
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San Jose still has an opening on its blueline.
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