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A Month of Gratitude: Anze Kopitar

Save the best for last.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Los Angeles Kings Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

We’re just about ready to wrap up our “month” of gratitude coverage — tomorrow we’ll share some reader submissions about past Kings players — but what better player to end our love-fest on than our captain?

Anze Kopitar

While Kopitar might not have been the captain to raise the Cup for the Kings, his quiet brand of leadership, determined 200-foot play, and consistency on the ice, season after season, makes him an easy King to root for.

Personally, as someone who spent a lot of time watching Marian Hossa play in Chicago, it was easy for me to love Anze Kopitar as a player. Kopitar, just like Hossa, makes the defensive side of hockey fun to watch. Protecting the puck, coming up with a win along the boards, stripping pucks from players to create chances for himself or his linemates — Kopitar makes “not letting the other guy score” look like an art form.

JFTC reader Frank wrote in and told us that he’s thankful for Kopitar’s “effortless skating”, and Michael says he’s thankful for “Anze Kopitar’s quiet brilliance one ice. No one is taken for granted more than him.”

Kopitar finally got his due last season when he was recognized with a nod for the Hart Trophy, and while he didn’t win, it was nice to finally see our captain get the national spotlight for all that he’s contributed to this team.

And Kopitar often shines on the international stage, whether it’s playing for his home country of Slovenia, or captaining the underdog-that-could Team Europe during the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. One reader wrote in, remembering Kopitar’s “tenure as Soft Team Dad/Captain of Team Europe. It was the best!” Perhaps no better exemplified by his proclamation that “we fooled them all,” after the mixed European squad defeated the US team.

And where would we be without dog content? Mads wanted to give a shout-out to Kopitar for bringing Gustl into our lives, writing that “Gustl is royalty among pups.”

So thank you to our captain for leading on and off the ice and always stepping up in a big way for the Kings!

2018 NHL Awards - Press Room Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Previously in our “Month” of Gratitude series: Kyle Clifford | Nate Thompson | Mike Amadio | Paul LaDue | Jake Muzzin | Alec Martinez | Peter Budaj | Cal Petersen | Ilya Kovalchuk | Trevor Lewis | Dustin Brown | Derek Forbort | Dion Phaneuf | Oscar Fantenberg | Adrian Kempe | Alex Iafallo | Matt Luff | Austin Wagner | Carl Hagelin | Tyler Toffoli | Drew Doughty | Jack Campbell | Jonathan Quick | Jeff Carter