After Anze Kopitar broke his ankle in the Los Angeles Kings’ recent win over the Colorado Avalanche, initial reports projected the Slovenian forward would miss six weeks.
However, the results of an MRI have revealed a much bleaker prognosis.
In addition to the break, Kopitar also has torn ligaments in his right ankle due to a high ankle sprain. The damage will need to be repaired surgically.
He is now expected to be out until the start of next season.
The Kings offense will really need to step up to keep the team in the mad scramble for playoff positioning in the Western Conference. With Kopitar’s ankle injury and Justin Williams’ dislocated shoulder, L.A. is out their top two in assists and total points. (Kopitar is the team leader in both categories with 48 assists and 73 points; he is also tied with captain Dustin Brown for most goals at 25.)
Fortunately for the Kings, they have gotten balanced scoring this season with five 20+ goal scorers and Jarret Stoll one away from joining the club. They also have a strong defensive corps led by the likes of youngsters Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson. It also makes the play of the stellar goaltending tandem of Jonathans Quick and Bernier all the more important.
Adding to Kopitar’s value, he was also the Kings’ lone all-star this season, scoring twice in the 2011 All-Star Game.
Along with hurting the Kings as a team and literally hurting Kopitar, the injury also hurt a record of Kopitar’s.
He had played in all 75 games of the season as part of his franchise record streak of 330 consecutive games played. (He surpassed Marcel Dionne’s mark of 324 when the Kings beat the Nashville Predators earlier this month.)
The Kings will get their first chance to see how they fair without Kopitar (and Williams) in the lineup tonight in Edmonton against the Oilers at 6:30 p.m. PT.