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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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LA Kings Rookie Goalie Martin Jones Has Come A Long Way From The North Shore Winter Club

LA Kings rookie goaltender Martin Jones
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — As he left the ice after earning his first National Hockey League shutout in a 3-0 victory over the New York Islanders on December 7 at Staples Center in what was just his second NHL game, goaltender Martin Jones entered the dressing room while his teammates chanted his name.

In two games, Jones has won both contests, the first coming at Anaheim, a 3-2, nine-round shootout win on December 3. In those games, Jones earned an 0.97 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage.

Those are magnificent numbers, to be sure. However, given the small sample size, they do not mean a whole lot. Even so, it represents a tremendous, near-fairy tale start to a young goaltender’s NHL career.

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LA Kings Rookie Goalie Martin Jones Passes First NHL Test With Flying Colors

LA Kings rookie goaltender Martin Jones
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

ANAHEIM AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — After earning his first National Hockey League win in his NHL debut, a 3-2 shootout victory over the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center in Anaheim on December 3, rookie goaltender Martin Jones remained the center of attention in the Los Angeles Kings’ dressing room after practice on December 5.

Jones spoke with the local media in greater detail about his first NHL game.

“It feels good, for sure,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure that I made the saves that I needed to, and give the guys a chance to win, because we’ve got a great team in here. They played real hard tonight. All I had to do was give them a chance.”

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LA Kings Forward Prospect Linden Vey Is “A Young Guy With Some Incredible Gifts”

Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Linden Vey, shown here
during the Kings’ 2013 Training Camp.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — As reported in this space on October 15, the Los Angeles Kings have three, young forward prospects who are knocking on the door, just one player personnel move, or one injury, away from cracking the big club’s roster.

One of those players is 22-year-old, 6-0, 200-pound forward Linden Vey, who was selected by the Kings in the fourth round (96th overall) of the 2009 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

Vey, now in his third season with the Kings’ primary minor league affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League, was drafted as a right wing, but has played at center since last season, when his line, which included Kings prospects Tyler Toffoli on right wing, and Tanner Pearson on the left side, lit up the AHL.

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