As the NHL and players continue to look like they’re closing in on a new collective bargaining agreement, the Los Angeles Kings may have been hit with a worst case scenario: losing one of their key players.
Initial reports from over in Europe are that forward Anze Kopitar sustained a knee injury while playing in Sweden. The injury is expected to hold him out for two or three weeks. Others have said that it could be up to a month, which isn’t a huge difference either way.
Luckily, the league hasn’t been hit hard by the injury bug overseas. Though players have missed small stretches, no one has missed really significant time. This injury to Kopitar could have been a lot worse, especially if it had been, say, the ankle. Remember, it was less than two years ago that we saw Kopitar miss a long stretch of games in the spring because of an ankle injury.
Two to three weeks isn’t the worst situation for the Kings, as they just narrowly avoid a serious hit to their hopes of defending their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Kopitar firmly established himself as one of the top two-way centers in hockey last season, finishing with 76 points and a strong performance in the postseason.
If a new CBA is to be reached within the next couple of days, as many are expecting, the season would be prepared to start around January 19th. That would leave the Kings without Kopitar for at least a couple of weeks, but it’s nowhere near the hit it could have been.
At least this lockout has brought on some good news for the Kings, with Jonathan Quick receiving some extra time to recover from offseason back surgery. With the exception of Kopitar, this team should be completely healthy and ready to defend their title, whenever a season should begin.