Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Anze Kopitar Jersey Card

As I was unpacking my cards last May, getting ready to post all summer long, I realized the one player I have the most jersey cards of is Anze Kopitar, the two-time Stanley Cup-winning giant center of the Los Angeles Kings.

The best Slovenian player in the history of the NHL has 33 points in 30 games with Team Slovenia (despite not playing alongside players of his level and facing the opposition's best lines) in addition to his success with the Kings. In each of his seasons in the NHL so far, he garnered votes for hardware, first the Calder Trophy, then becoming a staple for the Selke, and for Hart and Lady Byng voters as well. He's that good, and that important in all aspects of the game.

He had left Sunday night's game with an upper-body injury and was a game-time decision to suit up tonight - first it was said he would sit out, then reports indicated he would play. In the end, he didn't, and GM Dean Lombardi was irate for having to play shorthanded due to Slava Voynov's suspension and its impact on the Kings' salary cap.

Unlike the Chicago Blackhawks, the Kings managed to win both of their Stanley Cups without even losing a handful of players, but the cost of that was a salary structure that flirts dangerously with the cap and gives very little leeway. Such are the risks, but you'd rather be affected by that type of situation and still have the roster you have in October, rather than in April when the players might be a bit tired.

We'll see how it plays out in the long run, but for now I'm happy to feature Kopitar wearing the Kings' black current-day uniform, from Upper Deck's 2009-10 Series 2 set (card #G2J-AK of the UD Game Jersey sub-set), featuring a big silver swatch, probably from the arm:

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