It might be easy to dismiss the question, given that Anze Kopitar has six points in seven games, but is he struggling? Kopitar has only one goal, but beyond that, he doesn’t seem to be the often-dominant force that he was for so much of last season.
If it’s true, it could be due to a couple factors. One, perhaps it’s just a normal slow start. Perhaps seven games from now, he will look great and this will all be forgotten. Two, perhaps he’s feeling a bit of the pressure of the alternate-captain role and his big seven-year contract extension. Three, perhaps opponents are now targeting him as the Kings’ best player, and it’s taking time for him to adjust. I posed the following questions to Terry Murray to get his thoughts. What are yours?
Question: Keeping in mind that this is your first year here, do you see any signs that Kopitar might be pressing a bit, or maybe getting away from what his normal game?
MURRAY: “I don’t have much to compare that to, you’re right. But that’s OK. It’s OK to press and get away from your comfort zone. I think that you go through frustration to get to the next level and you become a better player because of it. You’re trying to do things that maybe are a little different than what you’ve done in the past. Those are the growing parts of a player and I don’t mind that stuff, whenever it does happen.”
Question: In his game in particular, is there anything there that you see him pressing to develop right now?
MURRAY: “I’m seeing an attitude of wanting to have the puck and really attacking hard, and trying to score off that puck possession that he has. I really like that attitude. If you want to become a premier center iceman in the National Hockey League, you have to want the puck. You’ve got to want to attack, you’ve got to try to do something with it every time it gets on your stick, and I love that attitude that he has. That’s where you break through and good things will happen in your game. If it happens a month from now, or at the end of the year this year, or it starts to happen for him consistently next year, it doesn’t matter. It’s the attitude I just love.”