With the World Cup less than two weeks away, Team Europe has announced that the Anze Kopitar will captain the multi-national hockey conglomeration for the reborn World Cup tournament.
— Team Europe (@TeamEUR_WCH) September 6, 2016
The choice was more or less a foregone conclusion. The newly minted Los Angeles Kings captain is one of the reasons the World Cup had to have a Team Europe when they decided on an eight-team format. He’s one of the league’s biggest stars and isn’t on one of the world’s top six national teams. The NHL sponsored event couldn’t have a best-on-best tournament that cut out some of the league’s best players.
Kopitar and Team Europe are not one of the favorites headed into this month’s tournament, but have the capacity to surprise despite a middling defensive group and the loss of Frederik Andersen, who very well could have started the tournament as the team’s lead netminder.
Kopitar is coming off a 74-point campaign with the Kings that earned him his first Selke Trophy as the league’s best two-way forward, as well as his first Lady Byng Trophy.