I asked Anze Kopitar the same question I asked Dustin Brown, about what the Kings could do this summer to improve, and he also spoke a bit about his play this season…
Question: I put this question to Dustin Brown, so I’ll put it to you too. If Dean comes to you and says, `What do we need here?’ what do you tell him?
KOPITAR: (laughs) “I’d tell him to get a scoring winger. That’s what I’d say to him. A left winger.”
Question: That’s what Brown said too…
Question: What would that mean to the team? Not just in the sense of scoring points, but would it be a lift in a mental way?
KOPITAR: “Yeah. Always, when you get someone who can produce a little more, it’s nice, because then sometimes me, Brownie, Fro can go a night and not score and that `X’ guy is going to maybe come in and put up a couple numbers. Obviously secondary scoring is very important here, and if he gives you that confidence every night, that’s great. He would be expected to be scoring and making plays.”
Question: Whether or not that `Mr. X’ arrives, will the expectations change for this team next season? Are the expectations that you will make the playoffs?
KOPITAR: “We have to think that right now, even if that `X’ guy doesn’t come. You’re hoping that he’s going to come, or that we’re going to make some moves in the offseason, but if not, we’ve shown that we can play against the good teams and play really good hockey around here. We just have to stay consistent, but that’s the hardest thing, I guess, especially with young guys like us. We’re a young team right now, but it shouldn’t be an excuse, and next year we should be ready to make it.”
Question: Could you do a little bit of a self-analysis of your season? Obviously, Terry asked a lot of different things of you this season, and I wonder how you think you came through that.
KOPITAR: “Obviously, the numbers are not there, like they were last year. Coming in and talking to Terry right away, he wanted me to be a two-way player. He said I had potential on it. I think my defensive game has improved this year and I think my faceoffs are better this year too, which is pretty important, especially with power-play faceoffs and in the offensive zone. I’ve taken some key faceoffs, too, in the defensive zone late in games. But I think that in my overall game, I’ve played a little stronger and I think I’ve become a better player.”