Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Flames/Kings Finale and One Anze Kopitar. . .

Let me just say, the last 1 minute of the Kings/Flames game last night was the MOST exciting hockey I have seen this year. Period. And that might just be because I've been watching the bland (I refuse to say vanilla as an adjective because I, like Steven Stamkos very much like vanilla) play of the Rangers, but wow. Wow. And Wow.

Tim Preissing's guts on that play to literally dive, and keep the puck, snow plow style, in the zone was something. The pressure of the Kings to tie in that last minute was incredible. And it was just by some luck, perhaps, and some Miikka Kiprusoff, that the puck did not go in. Intense.

Earlier, Oscar Moller scored his first two NHL goals for the Kings. The second was to tie it late in the 3rd at 2-2.

Lucky Luc Robataille spoke with the CBC mid-game and said, it's not that their players are young - the Kings that is - it's that they are young and really, really good. And they will get good, hopefully stay good together, and be really something in a few years, and for years to come.

If that game was any indication, I agree.

Calgary, admittedly, did not play their best. Although they've now won 6 in a row. But LA stayed with them, and made it a very close, very interesting game. With an ending, we wish more games had. I know I do.

Credit all around.

And a bonus, because I was home and my Tivo was not left to it's own devices, I got to see all of After Hours. And they interviewed Anze Kopitar. :)

A kid who, growing up in a country that really had very little hockey and certainly not hockey that bread a consistent crop of NHL players (well, none, to be exact), knew what he wanted to do. Be that NHL player. And he did become the first ever from Slovenia. An All-Star last year. He was humble, he was funny, and he was, yes, well-spoken. Why you ask? Because frankly I was a little surprised a guy so young from such a foreign place was dropping "you knows" like kids I went to high school with.

The story goes that as a young teenager Anze told his Grandmother, who taught English, that he wanted to learn the language. He said, I don't expect to be in Slovenia for much longer. And when I get to the NHL I am going to want to know English.

Cocky? Not at all. Confident? You bet.

The league needs more. And I admire his attitude. The Kings have locked him up with a new seven year contract. And with all their young talent- O'Sullivan, Brown, Doughty, Frolov, etc - seem poised to really make a statement for LA in a few years and for a long, long time.


Nothing else really much to say on last night. I stand by my statement that there should be, if nothing else, a change in personnel and/or a change in attitude on Tuesday night for the Rangers. We will see.

Oh, but and in mentioning Drew Doughty above, let me just say, he appears to set up the powerplay for his Kings better than the guy the Rangers paid $6.5 million a year to do so. Sorry Wade. Truth hurts.

And as it gets mentioned from time to time, it makes you appreciate BrianLeetch. Brian Leetch was a thousand times more than just a guy who set up the Rangers on the point, but. . .he did that too. And he can never, ever be replaced, we know that. But it also makes me think of the (although most recently injury plagued) great Sergei Zubov who never did get the credit he deserved for being that guy. For well over a decade now.

A fan of the stay at home defenseman? At times. But give me a guy who can step up into the offensive play and make it - - I'll take them any day. Hands down.

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