January 26th, 2007, 10:18 AM #1
Interview with Kopi's father, comments on Anze
There was an interview a couple days ago with Anze's father Matjaz and here's my translation of what he had to say about Anze.
Matjaz Kopitar: Anze will stay with his feet firmly on the ground
Q: What's your take on Anze's career development, particularly now in the NHL?
A: I would probably come across as prepotent to say I expected it all. Everyone keeps saying his sudden success is surprising. When Anze changed Kings GM's mind to give him a chance to play with the best, rather than sending him to the AHL, that was his first victory. It was a key decision and it turned out to be the right decision. Anze proves that day in and day out.
Q: LA's coach keeps saying they can't really brag about Anze's development. He says Anze already came a developed player...
A: He trained with our team during summer. Rok Ferkol, our conditioning coach at Jesenice, is very clear on ways to prepare a hockey player before and during season. I believe he did a great job. I worked with Anze on some details as well. He had no games to play while our team was already preparing for friendly matches. I think it worked well for him. When he came to LA's summer camp at 6'4 and 210 lbs everyone was suprised at his mobility and strength.
Q: Maybe the fact that you built him a rink behind your family house when he was just a kid has something to do with his abilities?
That's true, but the main thing is his character. He never stood last in line, always first to take a challenge, even if his competition was a year older or more. It earned him respect. He would complete an exercise and correctly so, the rest would take notice and do the same. Some are born with talent but only few have what it takes to realize their full potential.
Q: It seemed a good managerial move under your influence to keep Anze in Sweden for another year last year and not send him to the US straight away.
A: Definitely. I had a long battle last year with the Americans, who have little respect for European hockey, for Anze to stay in Sweden. I am positive the swedish "elitserien" is the best preparation for NHL. He had a lot of ice time and trust from his coach and it certainly helped his development. He also played some tough games at the WC's, last year and a year before that. I was confident he would develop faster in Swedish first league than in some east, west or Ontario hockey league. Last year it was a big question whether he would even make the AHL so I think the decision to stay in Sweden was definitely a good one.
Q: LA Kings have no real chance of qualifying for the NHL playoffs, but they are putting their hopes in Anze as somekind of saviour (is this guy a Kopitarian? LOL) who will bring fans to games. They fight for hockey attention with Anaheim...
A: Kings need to build their strategy for the future. They have a lot of young players like Brown, Cammalleri, Frolov, Anze...
Q: ... Japanese goalie Yutaka Fukufuji?
A: No, at goalie position I believe they are betting on Jason LaBarbera but aren't willing to pull him from the AHL as it would make him a free player for 24 hours and another team could claim him. Then there's Johnson, the defenseman, who is still at university. From what information I have, they will build their future around the mentioned players.
Q: How is Anze coping with all the attention? He is known to have his feet firmly on ground...
A: First of all he's very happy to have been well accepted by his teammates and is treated as equal. He repays their trust on ice. I believe he will stay with his feet firmly on the ground. The environment suits him well, he feels good in LA. He wants to stay there. Next season he is still under contract, after that - you never know what future holds. But if the Kings' management are true about building their team around Anze, then they will surely offer a good enough contract and he won't wish to look elsewhere.
January 26th, 2007, 10:20 AM #2
January 26th, 2007, 10:24 AM #3
January 26th, 2007, 10:24 AM #4
Sounds like the Kings need to hire Rok Ferkol.
Hockey's original bad boy. The "Cowboy" Howie Young
January 26th, 2007, 10:25 AM #5
Great read! Thanks for the translation!
Karma to you!
January 26th, 2007, 11:54 AM #6
Can we get one of those 15 year deals for Anze?
January 26th, 2007, 12:22 PM #7
lifetime deal with Anze Kopitar.... Beckham style
January 26th, 2007, 01:10 PM #8
I appreciate the article. And a belated become to the European Union from the UK.
January 26th, 2007, 02:44 PM #9
get a goalie that can actually play the position with confidence more than 1 night at a time, solitify the defense by adding to lubo, jackmfjohnson, petiot, etc., and kopitar can lead the kings to great things, this article just improves my belief in that ...hey if we gotta wait til bernier can play at the top of his game, who cares, kings are gonna be sick in a few years. for now, ill go to the games just to see him make dudes like pronger and brodeur look silly.
January 26th, 2007, 04:14 PM #10