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Wayne Gretzky: “I Think Anze Kopitar, Right Now, Is The Third-Best Player In The NHL”

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Prior to Game 1 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final on June 4, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, told CBC’s Ron MacLean that Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar “…is the third-best player in the National Hockey League.”

“I think Anze Kopitar, right now, is the third-best player in the National Hockey League, only behind [Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney] Crosby and [Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan] Toews, and he’s getting better every game,” said Gretzky, who played for the Kings from 1988-1995.

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LA Kings And NY Rangers: 2014 Stanley Cup Final Preview/Prediction

The Stanley Cup
(click above to view larger image
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — After eight months, the National Hockey League has finally reached the peak of its crescendo, with the New York Rangers here on the left coast to face-off against the Los Angeles Kings in 2014’s quest for hockey’s version of the Holy Grail, the Stanley Cup.

Players, head coaches and general managers of both teams met the media on June 3 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, where the players spent a lot of time analyzing their opponent.

“[The Kings are] a big team,” said Rangers forward Brad Richards. “Straightforward, experienced, and they obviously don’t give up. We’ve seen that over the last few years, and especially this year. You know that their will is there. We’re going to have to get to that, and match that. After that, there’s not a lot of surprises. It’s straightforward hockey, and they’re going to come. Besides that, we’ll see where it goes.”

“They’re obviously a very, very good team,” said Rangers forward Chris Kreider. “That’s why they are where they are, at this point in the season. That’s why they’ve had so much success over the past few years.”

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2014 Stanley Cup Final Media Day – In Photos

A large banner hung at the Star Plaza entrance at Staples Center in Los Angeles marks the eve of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, featuring the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers, with Game 1 scheduled for June 4, 2014.
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — June 3 was media day for the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, pitting the Los Angeles Kings against the New York Rangers, with Game 1 scheduled for June 4, starting at 5:00 PM PDT, at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Both teams practiced at Staples Center, and after their respective sessions, head coaches and general managers, along with players, met with the media.

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LA Kings Pushing For Improvement Heading Into 4-Game, Southeastern Road Swing

Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter was standing in front of the net, much like he was in this photo from a recent practice session, when he scored the overtime game-winner against the
Ottawa Senators on October 9.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings are 2-2-0 as they begin a four-game road trip this evening against the Carolina Hurricanes (4:00 PM PDT, televised on Fox Sports West). But as their .500 record indicates, it has been quite the struggle so far, and that includes their last game, a 4-3 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators on October 9, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, a game in which they blew a 3-0 lead.

Winger and team captain Dustin Brown noted that despite blowing a big lead, the Kings have enough experience to get them through difficult times.

“You never want to blow a three-goal lead, but at the end of the day, this team has been through a lot harder situations,” said Brown. “As a group of guys, we’re at that point where I don’t think a lot of things faze us.”

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