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ANZE KOPITAR KINGS MADNESS WINNER

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
The Votes are in and second-year All-Star wonder Anze Kopitar are Kings Fans favorite in the first annual, Kings Madness tournament.

Kopitar defeated Luc Robitaille - the greatest left wing in NHL history, in the final vote, hauling in 75 percent of the vote to defeat Robitaille.

Kopitar, the Kings first pick, 11th overall in 2005, just completed his second season with the Kings, leading the team in scoring with 77 points and 45 assists and tying for the team lead in goals (32), in qualifying for his first All-Star game. Overall, Kopitar has posted 52-86=138 in 154 career games.

Over 20,000 votes were cast on LAKings.com as sixty-four current/former Kings were selected and were part of a three-week bracket-style competition, "LA Kings Madness," a special hockey/Kings "tribute" to basketball's March Madness.

The seeding of the 64 players is based off total games played with the Kings (including post-season contests) and the players will be placed into four different brackets of 16 (called the Purple, Gold, Silver and Black brackets).

The FANtastic Four consisted of Rob Blake, who won the Black Bracket, Kopitar, who won the Gold, Wayne Gretzky, who won the Purple and Robitaille, who won the Silver.

Kopitar advanced to the Final by easily defeating Mike Murphy, in the first round, current teammate Alexander Frolov in the second round, Kings goaltending hero Kelly Hrudey in the third round and Marty McSorley to advance to the FANtastic Four. Kopitar then squeaked by Blake to advance to the final.

Robitaille's road to the final was a little more difficult, advancing past Paul Coffey, Mario Lessard, Steve Duchesne, Tony Granato and Gretzky in the FANtastic Four.

The players qualified for the tournament if they met at least one of the following criteria:

  • Played in at least 450 games as a King (skater)
  • Played in at least 300 games as a King (goalie)
  • Led the team in scoring for an entire season at least once
  • Scored a playoff series-clinching goal
  • Was a Kings captain
  • Made the All Star team as a King
  • Earned the "Most Popular Player" award
  • Also, there were some "Wild Card" entries that were selected by a special committee of former Kings players, Kings broadcasters and staff.
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