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LA Kings Anze Kopitar Talks Olympics, Sprint To The Finish

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

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Well before the Los Angeles Kings hit the ice on February 24, an unusually large throng of local media had already gathered at their practice facility, the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California. In fact, with all the television and radio news media present, it looked like we had skipped over the final 23 games of the regular season for the Kings and moved right into the playoffs, which is when the local broadcast media start to show up at practices.

But on this day, center Anze Kopitar returned to the Kings’ practice ice for the first time since the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia ended, and he did so as an Olympic hero, of sorts. After all, even though he did not win a medal, he led Slovenia to a nearly miraculous 3-1 win over Slovakia in the preliminary round. Slovenia also shutout Austria in the Qualification Round, 4-0, to reach the Quarterfinals.

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Gasper Kopitar: Forever Skating In Big Brother Anze’s Shadow

Ontario Reign center Gasper Kopitar, the younger brother of Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, scored the overtime
game-winner in his home debut, leading the Reign to a 3-2 victory over the San Francisco Bulls at
Citizens Business Bank Arena, in Ontario, California on January 5, 2014.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

ONTARIO, CA — Those who have brothers or sisters should be very familiar with sibling rivalry, and even having an older sibling who excelled in everything, and then having to follow in their footsteps with those huge shoes to fill.

If you think that’s bad, imagine being the little brother trying to live up to sky-high expectations set by an older brother who is among the best in the world in his chosen field or profession.

That is exactly what Gasper Kopitar has experienced throughout his life, dealing with stratospheric expectations as he follows in the footsteps of his older brother, Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar.

The older Kopitar, now 26 years old, is considered to be among the National Hockey League’s best players, and he has excelled at every level he has played at, whether it was back home in Slovenia as a teenager, two years in Sweden, and then in the NHL with the Kings, winning the Stanley Cup in 2012.

Those are enormous skate boots to fill, and the younger Kopitar indicated that unrealistic expectations nearly drove him away from the game for good.

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