NHL training camps opened on Sunday, and many NHL teams are holding practices open to the public. The Los Angeles Kings held their public practice session on Monday, televising the event on Fox Sports West. Anze Kopitar, who suffered a minor injury to his knee during the lockout, did not participate in that event, but has resumed skating.
Kopitar skated Monday at the Kings' training complex, and reported no problems with the injury, according to the Associated Press.
"To be honest, I didn't know what to expect," he said. "It felt good, and we'll see day by day how I progress."
The injury was originally estimated to sideline the star forward for approximately 3 weeks, and although he is still expected to miss the season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, Kopitar could very well be back in the lineup soon after that. During his skate-around at the Kings' training complex on Monday, Kopitar shot a few pucks while skating with coaching consultant Bernie Nicholls. His progress report was a positive one, via the Associated Press.
"Just curious to explore the turns and stuff, and I didn't have any problems," Kopitar said. "I thought it would be a little worse than it was…I'm very optimistic."
Kopitar injured his knee during the lockout while playing with Mora IK of Sweden's second highest professional league. He was likely playing it safe when he pulled himself out of the game when the injury occurred. Kopitar told Swedish sports reporter Linus Hugosson after that game, that he stepped off the ice for "precautionary reasons", adding that he "got tangled up in the corner and it felt funny." Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times also reported at the time, that Kopitar's agent Pat Brisson said his clients injury "is nothing to be alarmed with".
News of the injury likely put a scare through the organization and its fans initially, but as more information surfaced, it became apparent that the injury was minor.
Kopitar is a two-way player who excels on both ends of the ice. He skates well, and at 6-3, 220-pounds, has both size and strength. He skates very well, and at his size, his speed can be deceptive to opponents. The depth of this Kings team is one of its strengths, and the team will have to fill the void left by Kopitar collectively, until he can make his way back into the lineup.
Kopitar led the team in scoring last season with 76 points (25 goals, 51 assists) and his presence is nearly, if not entirely irreplaceable. Having the 25-year-old healthy is vital to the organizations success, and news of him possibly nearing a return to the ice bodes well for the team, as they get ready to defend the Stanley Cup in 2013.
Tags: Anthony Stewart, Anze Kopitar, Hockey, Kevin Westgarth, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Kings, NHL