Tag: Anze Kopitar


The Ducks got Kesler for a game like Saturday’s


Yes, the Ducks have lost a Game 7 at home the last two seasons.

And yes, they have another Game 7 at home tomorrow versus the Chicago Blackhawks, with a trip to the Stanley Cup Final on the line.

But for one simple reason, what happened the last two years doesn’t have much predictive value, according to Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin.

“The last two years, we were a different team,” Beauchemin said. “We were a younger team. We added some players last summer that have been making the difference all year long for our team. Like I said, it’s not going to be the same Ducks that played Game 7 the last two years.”

Anaheim’s major offseason addition was Ryan Kesler, acquired from Vancouver to give the Ducks the kind of one-two punch at center that the Los Angeles Kings — the team that eliminated Anaheim last year on its way to winning the Stanley Cup — boast with Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter.

“I think I can fit into this team and be a good No. 2 behind Ryan Getzlaf,” Kesler said in June. ”I’m going to Anaheim to win a championship.”

Adding to the optimism created by the Kesler acquisition, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau remarked: “I’ve never coached a team in the NHL that’s had a second-line center that you’re going to have with Ryan Kesler.”

And for adding Kesler, as well as all the other moves he made, Ducks GM Bob Murray was named a finalist for NHL GM of the year.

So yeah, quite a bit on the line tomorrow in Anaheim. This is exactly why the Ducks got Kesler, for a game like this. To prove that, this year, things are different.

“Our goal wasn’t to get to the conference final. Our goal was to get to the Stanley Cup Final,” said Beauchemin.

“We have a chance to do that in Game 7 here.”

Related: Kesler gives Ducks the Selke Trophy type that Cup champs usually have

Kopitar’s dad resigns as Slovenian head coach after relegation at Worlds

Matjaz Kopitar

Matjaz Kopitar has decided to step down at the head coach of the Slovenian national team, per the IIHF’s website.

Matjaz Kopitar, who is the father of Kings star Anze Kopitar, led Slovenia to a seventh place finish in the 2014 Winter Games. That’s the best Slovenia has ever done in men’s hockey at the Olympic level, including its time as part of Yugoslavia. However, Slovenia finished with the worst record in the 2015 World Championships and have been relegated to Division I as a result.

The elder Kopitar has coached the Slovenian national team for five seasons and during that time they were in something of a holding partner as far as the World Championships went. They would win Division I whenever they were relegated, but they would consistently follow that up with a 16th place finish at the Championships level.

Slovenia will once again have to fight to be promoted in 2016.

Flyers will be ‘extremely patient’ with youngsters, but ‘want a winner as soon as possible’

Ed Snider

Depending who you ask, it’s either a smart and noble strategy, one that’s been successful for a team like the Detroit Red Wings, or it’s like wanting to have your cake and eat it too, and the reason a team like the Detroit Red Wings hasn’t made a deep playoff run in a number of years.

That strategy is, of course, doing everything you can to win now, while simultaneously and patiently developing youngsters for the future.

It’s what Flyers owner Ed Snider wants to do in Philadelphia, as opposed to tearing it down and rebuilding from scratch, a la Buffalo or Edmonton.

Snider told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the plan for the Flyers is to “be extremely patient with all of the young players we have coming.” But at the same time, GM Ron Hextall is “going to do everything in his power to produce a winner as soon as possible, which means it could be trades, it could be coaching, it could be all kinds of things.”

It’s a similar story in Vancouver, where the aging Canucks “want to draft and develop well, but we want our young kids to learn how to play in a winning environment, so they learn the right way to play.”

The obvious challenge for that type of plan is drafting, because teams that are neither great nor terrible don’t get top-5 draft picks, i.e. players like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Drew Doughty.

That’s not to say it’s impossible to find elite players in the middle of the first round, or even beyond. Anze Kopitar was taken 11th overall; Patrice Bergeron and Duncan Keith were second-rounders.

But the win now/win later strategy does put added pressure on the scouting staff to unearth a few “big-time” diamonds in the rough, like the Wings once did to the extreme with Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Nicklas Lidstrom.

The Flyers have the seventh overall selection in this summer’s draft. They also have Tampa Bay’s first-round pick, wherever that may be.

Related: Hextall insists he’s ‘on the same page’ with Snider