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Kings In The 2008 World Championships

The World Versus Kopi

Anze Kopitar
is getting much deserved attention at the World Championships because, let's face it, to the North American audience, he's the only player on Team Slovenia who is close to being a household name.

On Friday, May 2nd he faced Team Canada with their juggernaut roster including the likes of Rick Nash, Martin St. Louis, and Jason Spezza. The last time Slovenia played Canada was in 2002 where Kopi was 17 and wearing a full face cage. Canada lit up the Slovenians 8 times and that was all she wrote. For this game in 2008, he told the press:

"If we can keep it down to maybe five goals that would be good," he said, adding it was still going to be a blast for his tiny nation of unknowns to play Canada. "We've got nothing to lose. We're just going to go out and have fun."

True to form the Slovenians were able to hold the Canadians to only 5 goals, which were scored by Dan Hamhuis, Martin St. Louis, with a hat trick by Dany Heatley. The lone Slovenian goal was scored by Kopi, which shouldn't really surprise anyone. Team Canada coach Ken Hitchcock lets people know:

"He's an awfully good player. A lot of people talk about a lot of young players in the game, but he's the real deal. He's the perfect mix of finesse and strength. He has great feet and great hands. And he has size and poise to go with it."

TSN is awesome and streams their international games online, so I was able to watch it in the comfort of my home. In this game Kopi makes a huge offensive push (by himself) in the 1st period into the Canadian zone. But the thing that annoyed me was that Pierre McGuire was talking about Canada while they were showing the replay of Kopi displaying his sweet moves! His goal came on a 5-on-3 advantage where he was positioned on the goal line to the right of Cam Ward. He stopped a pass with his foot, got it on his stick, and put it top shelf on Ward. To be honest, he actually looked a little bored on that play. In the 2nd period, leading up to Heatley's second goal, Kopi played almost the entire shift without his stick since it was knocked out of his hands. He did a good job getting his body in the way of the Canadians, but the Canadians bombed as many shots on the net as possible and Heatley's goal ended up being one that weaseled its way in off the short side. He ends with 1 goal, 3 shots on net, and 23:27 of ice time.

Cute note: Kopi said that he made the Slovenian team because his dad was on the coaching staff.

Canada's Cam Ward faced 23 shots while Slovenian netminder Robert Kristan faced 65. Impressive both on Canada for firing that many shots and even more so for Kristian for turning away 60 of them!

Brownie and Sully versus Ivanans

Dustin Brown and Patrick O'Sullivan are representing the Kings on Team USA and they make themselves known by each notching a goal in the opening the game against Latvia. Because I'm not willing to pay to watch these games online, I'm going off the scoresheet and game recap for this one. In this game the US wins 4-0 with Brownie scoring in the 1st period and Sully scoring in the 3rd; both goals were on the power play. Brownie's goal is the first of the game and the game winner; he also gets an assist off a Zach Parise goal in the 3rd as well. For Latvia Raitis Ivanans gets on the scoresheet as well, but with 2 penalty minutes. =) Did you think he'd have it any other way?

Goalie Tim Thomas faced 24 shots while Latvia faced 49. I'm giving props to Edgars Masalskis because he made 45 saves.

Lubo Reppin' Slovakia!

Lubomir Visnovsky is playing on the backend of Slovakia for this World Championship. On Saturday, May 3rd, Slovakia played Norway where the former won 5-1. According to the stats sheet, Little Lubo got 2 assists, 1 shot on net, ended at a +3, and logged 19:38 of ice time. After taking a closer look, I noticed that Lubo was on the ice for 4 of Slovakia's goals and was NOT on the ice for Norway's lone goal. So shouldn't that make him a +4? Anyhoo, Lubo rocks!