Los Angeles Kings: Criticism Of Anze Kopitar Is Unwarranted

By Randy Holt
Anze Kopitar
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

For whatever reason, Anze Kopitar has been catching a great deal of flak this summer. After the Los Angeles Kings were bounced from the playoffs, it was Kopitar that was the target of plenty of blame for the elimination. To an extent, this criticism is warranted. Overall, however, it makes less sense.

Kopitar had a fine regular season. He posted 42 points in 47 games, a scoring rate most players would be proud of. Of course, the glaring number you notice among those 42 points is the fact that he only scored 10 goals. And while he was putting up points at an impressive rate in the final month of the season, his final regular season goal came on March 25th.

From a goal-scoring perspective, yes, there is probably a reason criticize him. During the playoffs, those struggles in finding the back of the net continued. He had only three games and six assists as the Kings reached the Western Conference Finals, but it was pretty clear he wasn’t healthy.

While his goal scoring, or lack thereof, was a disappointment, it’s hard to look at Kopitar’s season as a whole and say that he was a failure. In fact, Kopitar is a player that doesn’t have to find the back of the net in order to be effective. He found ways to contribute a ton without finding the back of the net.

He’s one of the game’s best two-way forwards. Regardless of what he’s doing in the offensive end, you’re still getting that outstanding defensive play from the forward position. In addition to that, he still played a heavy hand in the offensive, with his 32 assists coming in at no. 1 on the team, 10 more than the next closest player.

Whatever criticism Kopitar received after the season was over for the Kings simply did not make sense. He’s a multi-dimensional player that doesn’t have to score to be effective. With a summer to get healthy, he should return to his form as an offensive force, and should make a return to the back of the net very early on in 2013-14. Then hopefully, this nonsensical criticism will vanish.

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