Here’s the post-morning skate reaction …
Kings center Anze Kopitar didn’t want to talk Thursday morning about his nomination for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, one of three forwards picked as finalists for the award that goes “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.”
“It’s really nice to be nominated, obviously, but right now is not the time to think about that,” said Kopitar, referring to the Kings’ three-games-to-none deficit in their first-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks. “I’ll think about that when it’s all said and done.”
Kopitar’s teammates and his coach had plenty to say, however.
“I see him every day and it’s pretty evident he’s the best 200-foot player we have by a long shot,” Kings captain Dustin Brown said. “I’m happy for him to finally get some attention from a league-wide standpoint. It’s been deserved for a couple of years now.”
Said left wing Justin Williams: “It’s long overdue. Enough people have made a stink around here that he’s not gotten enough respect. He finally got some. Selke finalists play in every situation and excel in every situation. There’s not one thing that he doesn’t excel at, and that’s why he is who he is.”
Added Trevor Lewis: “It’s great to see him finally get recognized for it. He does most of his leading on the ice. We get to see him every day, but sometimes on the bench your jaw drops because of some of the things he does. He’s really great.”
Kopitar, 26, led the Kings in goals with 29, assists with 41 and plus/minus defensive rating with a plus-34. He also delivered 10 power-play goals and 23 points while the Kings were on the man-advantage. What’s more, he scored nine game-winning goals and played all 82 regular-season games.
Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks were the other finalists in voting by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. The winner will be announced in a ceremony June 24 at the Encore Theater at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas.
“I think it was justified for this year,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said of Kopitar. “I think he’s come a long way as a player. Think about it: best goals-against in the Western Conference (Kopitar), best-goals-against in the Eastern Conference (Bergeron) and the defending Stanley Cup champion (Toews).”