Friday, March 2, 2012

Marcel Dionne - 'Kopitar needs to make a decision'

Anze Kopitar, LA Kings (photo: Ikiri)
"I told (Anze) Kopitar 'You aren't touching the puck enough. I don't like your breakout.' I think Kopitar can make magic with the puck" - Marcel Dionne on MayorsManor in 2009.

Getting a chance to speak with a legend is always an honor. However, to chat with somebody as open as Dionne, it's always a chance to learn and gain insight from one of the greatest goal scorers of all-time.

He's back in town for the Kings Fantasy Camp this weekend and we spent some time together last night on a variety of topics, which I'll post over several articles.

First up, here are some updated thoughts from Dionne on the Kings highest paid player...

"I think Kopitar's at the point in his career where he has to decide what he wants to do. Does he want to be the guy? If I was him, he should be looking at the situation and what's going with (Evgeni) Malkin. When (Sidney) Crosby was playing, Malkin was happy to be second fiddle. Then, when Crosby went out, Malkin took over. He wins games on his own. Kopi has to do that! You can't wait for wingers. You gotta make it happen. Some nights he's gotta be the guy. And if he's not, now it's getting to the point in his game where it's going to be tough to get up to the level he wants to be. Everbody knows him, everybody knows how he plays.

"He should be a little bit more - he reminds me a little bit of Mats Sundin. They're big guys, but when they get close to the net, they're not aggressive enough. They have to get these guys off their backs because they're big guys. If they're soft there, then you know what, those soft goals don't come.

"I still have confidence in him. But, sometimes, management are too nice to their stars. He needs a wake-up call."

With 731 goals scored in the NHL, that's the voice of experience you hear.

For more from Dionne's previous visits to MayorsManor, please see the articles linked below.

The Mayor


High/Low with Marcel Dionne

In-depth interview with Hall of Famer, Marcel Dionne

HockeyFest 2009: The Triple Crown session


  1. Finally Marcel hits it on the head. Will always love the Beave!

  2. Agree, this is it. Maybe the coach's son needs to be ordered to attack the net with more abandon. I love Anze's 200-ft game, but he's paid what he's paid to be a beast in one zone.

  3. Marcel... the game has changed, half of your goals would not have gone in on these goalies.. you're 5'8 , when have you ever been tough around the net? different era, and you are so out of touch with the game

    1. Umm, ... hello? Wrong?

      WHERE - in the article does it say Marcel is talking about himself and all of his 5'8" greatness? (hint: it doesn't.)

      READ - (again) where he references aggressiveness within the current game, discussing MODERN day players like the wildly successful 6'3" Malkin, and the recently retired yet not quite as comparatively successful 6'5" Sundin.

      Dionne isn't out of touch with the game at all. He knows what it took to score in his era, and he also recognizes how current, un 5'8-like, big-bodied, similar sized guys to Kopitar are scoring (or not scoring) in the modern era.


  4. Way to remain anonymous and not even put in your blog name, which still allows you to remain anomymous.

    Yes the game has changed. Yes the players are bigger and stronger than when Marcel played. What hasnt changed and is needed more than ever is the need to drive the net and create havoc in front of it. Teams play very structured defensive systems that are far more developed. Goalies are better trained, larger in stature on average and their equipment is so far advanced beyond what keepers used in Marcel's era there is no comparison.

    With all of this teams and.players tlday HAVE to play ans succed inside 'the house' if they want to score. Teams that rely on low percentage shots from the outside, such as the Kings will not score. Players that continue to play and shoot from.the perimeter will not score.

    The fact that LA is dead last in scoring and as a team plays from the perimeter supports what Marcel is saying. Kopi is either going to have to take rhis on himself and do it, or play from the edges the way he has for the better part of the past three seasons and continue to struggle. Until they get at least one winger on his line that will play in the crease area he will struggle. JW is a perimeter player. DB plays more along the boards and corners as a first choice. He needs to mix up his game and drive the net just to change things up. He ultimately needs a.winger with the nose for the net. To get inside and play in the nasty six feet across the goal mouth all the time.

  5. ... Is there a great player in this league who is more under-appreciated than Anze Kopitar? I doubt it. Perhaps it's time for a trade if even the Kings' alumni is unable to appreciate what he does and has done here. Frankly, it's embarrassing.

    It's also quite telling that Marcel focused on Anze's offensive output while completely disregarding his defensive play, which has been clearly superior. Dionne was denied team success time and time again here, because the high-scoring teams he usually led couldn't ever stop their opponents from scoring on them.

    1. I love Kopitar's all-around play; as much as our league-worse offense falls on his shoulders, he deserves just as much credit for being the lead forward of an elite defensive squad. And yea, Dionne wasn't well-known for his play in that zone.

      But I think the question is whether or not Kopitar has more to offer offensively now without sacrificing an appreciable amount of defensive responsibility. Sutter called him out a couple weeks ago, and now Dionne. These are two bright hockey minds, and Sutter is very defensive-oriented, so you know he appreciates Anze's backchecking.

      The fact is, we need someone to step up. Why not Anze? Anze's a great player, and I'm happy if he ends up being a superior Mikko Koivu, a defensive Mats Sundin, but I think there's another gear for him to go.

    2. "But I think the question is whether or not Kopitar has more to offer offensively now without sacrificing an appreciable amount of defensive responsibility. Sutter called him out a couple weeks ago, and now Dionne."

      ... One, I'm willing to bet serious cash that Dionne doesn't watch all, or even half, of the Kings' games. I respect Marcel greatly for what he did for this franchise, and he was a great King - perhaps the greatest King of all time. But he's overstepping his boundaries, here.

      As for Sutter calling him out, I think that's more of a case of him being unwilling to call out some other guys - particularly Richards, who has 1 goal in his last 30 games. It's too easy and convenient to call out the best player when the rest of the team, save for a few exceptions, is playing below their level of ability.

      Saying that Anze simply has another gear is lazy and simplistic analysis. Hockey is a team game. The fact is that it's amazing that Kopitar has put up the points he has considering the entire team's lack of offensive talent and lack of production this season. Kopitar plays on a line with Brown and Williams, two second line-calibre players. When push comes to shove, Anze's really the only legit top liner the Kings have. As such, he's naturally going to be the guy on which teams are focusing their defensive game plan. Kopitar's a great player, but he's not a one-man line, or a one-man team. He just isn't.

    3. I agree that "another go" is simplistic. More specifically, by another gear, I mean that Anze can sometimes be more assertive offensively; I'm just agreeing with Sutter and Dionne, and following my own observations. A guy as big and strong as Kopitar doesn't need to be Tomas Holmstrom in front of the net, but he can stand to attack the net more. And if he chooses not to do that in his career as much, it doesn't make him a bad or non-winning player, but it will limit his effectiveness and I think, his legacy (which I know is premature, but a player of Kopitar's caliber might start thinking of that).

      Now I can't speak to Sutter or Dionne's motivation and credibility for calling him out, and I'm not saying that Anze is soft or lazy. While I realize that he's not Jaromir Jagr circa 1998, I do believe that he can be a clearly better player than he is now, and I think it's within his reach. It's a compliment when I say that an already-great player who works hard, is a good teammate, and is so young, can be better.

      You think Anze can work on anything in his game (besides getting better teammates)?

  6. Marcel's comments are right on the money. A perfect example of parking in the crease and making a pest of yourself is Corey Perry. As much as I hate the guy, he gets the job done. Kopi has the size and talent, but I don't know what it will take to motivate him to use his assets.

  7. Either you fall in love with a player and never see the poor side or you hate your team because "They" aren't scoring. Your supposedly "superstar" gets lauded for his "great" defensive play and then is given a free ride for his poor offensive play. Let's just have Kopitar play on the 3rd or 4th line and the penalty kill and then when he happens to score another empty net goal we can all rave on how great he is offensively. I'd trade him in a heart beat.

  8. Next time you write a posting on here that quotes the thoughts and opinions of someone of considerable importance to the game and it's history, you make damn sure that he knows he's on the record with you. Truly classless that you take overheard discussions in a social environment and misrepresent them here.

    1. Not sure what you're talking about there. The interview with Dionne was ON the record, as all interviews are that get posted on He was speaking into a digital recording device (mic/recorder) at the time of the interview, he was well aware he was 'on the record.' Social conversations don't get posted in articles. Further, I've never posted something overheard anywhere. All comments and quotes are from players, coaches, scouts, NHL sources, etc who knew they were 'on the record.' If you'd like to discuss further, please email me via the the CONTACT tab above. Next time, please have your facts straight.

  9. Can't speak to your other interviews, but as I was there and a camp participant I'm confident I have my facts correct.

    1. Again, no idea what you're talking about. I have an audio recording of a one-on-one interview I conducted with Dionne on Thursday 03/01/2012 and the interview posted at 10am on 03/02/2012 (before the camp even started). I never attended any social event with him as part of the camp you're making reference to, nor used quotes from any conversation that wasn't on the record. The audio speaks for itself. As stated in my earlier reply, your 'facts' are 100% wrong. Every interview to ever appear on MayorsManor is backed by authenticity, not the non-sense you are implying.