LA Kings are showing that "age matters not" in pro hockey
Just watch Stanley Cup champion veterans, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown are still up to the task
October 28, 2021
Before the LA Kings hockey season started, I heard people saying that two-time, Stanley Cup champion veterans, Anze Kopitar (Captain) and Dustin Brown were too old and too slow to keep up with elite and young players on opposing teams.
But they both proved them wrong by coming out of the gate with great energy at the home opener at STAPLES Center and scoring goals. Kopitar scoring three times, giving him a beloved hat trick.
Lets not forget the credits and experience these two bring to the Kings organization.
Brown, 36, might seem like an elder in the league, but he isn't letting his age stand in the way and is using his experience as fuel for his resurrection.
"You look at some older players that play in the league for a while, they might slow down a little bit but thinking the game is a huge part at this level and you learn, you just get better if you're paying attention," Brown said. "I think the game much better than I did when I started. Each year I've tried to get better. I think that's the key, just trying to get better every year regardless of age. Age is just a number and it will catch up, but if you put the work in, you can continue to excel. There's a lot of room for me to still improve."
The 13th overall pick of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Brown has spent his entire 18-year career with the Kings. He led the Kings to the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup championships and in 2012, became the first Kings captain and second American captain to win The Cup with a six-game victory over the New Jersey Devils.
Because of his physical playing style, Brown consistently ranks among NHL leaders in hits and penalties drawn.
He represented the United States at three World Championships, winning a bronze medal in 2004. Brown was also an NHL All-Star in 2004 and was decorated with the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2014.
Expect Brown to continue to be a physical force in front of the opponents net and be that hard-working player that he's been for many years with the Kings.
Kopitar, 34, was also a force during those two Stanley Cup championships, leading the playoffs in points on both occasions (tied with Brown in 2012).
The 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, he became the first Slovene to play in the NHL upon making his debut in 2006. Kopitar has also spent his entire NHL career with the Kings and has led the team in scoring in all but two seasons and is fourth in franchise history in points, goals, and assists, scoring his 1,000th career point in 2021.
Noted for his skills at both ends of the ice, he was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016 and 2018. And was chosen to receive the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for gentlemanly play in 2016.
Kopitar is also a five-time NHL All-Star, and it was just announced that he has been named as the league's first star of the week for the opening week of the 2021-22 season. His five points (3-2-5) on Opening Night was a Kings franchise record in a season opener.
"You just try to stay in the moment," Kopitar said. "You try not to think too much. Just play...it was the first game of the season and we wanted to get off to a good start and get the two points in the bank and go from there."
Look for both Kopitar and Brown to be 'staying in the moment' and continue to lead the Kings as they march down the path this season.