Photo credit: sloveniatimes.com
As thrilling as it is to be participating in the Olympics, Los Angeles Kings star forward Anze Kopitar will have his hands full right off the bat. On Wednesday night (Thursday morning on this side of the pond), Kopitar and his Slovenian team will take on Team Russia which features, among others, Kings defenseman Slava Voynov.
As the host country, the Russians are under immense pressure to succeed, especially in men's hockey. Slovenia may be in too deep but if Anze Kopitar has anything to say about it, his countrymen certainly will not go down without a fight.
While Los Angeles's No. 11 will be on Slovenia's top line, don't expect Kopitar to single-handedly run the show. He may be the only NHLer representing Slovenia in the country's first Olympics in men's hockey but it will certainly be a team effort. With that said, the attitude against the Slovenes heading into the tournament is a team that's is simply glad to be there. Kopitar hopes to do whatever he can to exceed those expectations.
Slovenia's most notable defenseman will be German-leaguer Mitja Robar. But still, the Slovenes have a rag-tag group on the back end, nothing like Anze Kopitar's professional team in sunny Los Angeles.
With the likes of Ovechkin, Malkin as well as former NHLers Ilya Kovalchuk and Alex Radulov, the Russians look far too daunting for the inexperienced Slovenes. Anything can happen but don't expect Kopitar's side to come out victorious. Instead, Voynov's side looks like they'll start the tournament off on the right foot.
Enjoy the game!