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Kopitar's Impressive 1,000 Games with the Kings

The Kings captain was the first Slovenian to play in the NHL and has become a world-class franchise player over the past 13 years

by LA Kings @LAKings / LAKings.com

In 2005, Anze Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL after he was drafted in the first round, 11th overall, by the LA Kings. He has since been a force to be reckoned with in the league, racking up 886 points (311-575=886), all while wearing lucky number 11.

On Monday, as the Kings hosted the Calgary Flames, the Kings captain competed in his 1,000 NHL game. Though he hasn't had a lot of time to process the meaning of the milestone, he recognizes how surreal his career has been. 

"I've been just blessed to be able to do this," he said to LA Kings Insider. "Even talking to my mom last night, it was like, 'who would've thought you would've made it to 1,000 games? Who would've thought you'd have made it to the NHL at first?'"

Well, we're sure glad he did. 

Tweet from @NHLPA: 1,000 games for the pride of Slovenia. Congratulations, @AnzeKopitar! pic.twitter.com/MDBcAwLXMg

Tweet from @NHL: A couple of Cups and a ton of points.@AnzeKopitar has done a lot in his 1,000 games. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/b4meJRcRpS

Kopitar may be the second Kings player this season to reach the 1,000 games milestone, but he's the first from his draft class to do so. 

"It's going to be really cool for me playing in the 1,000th game just because I have experienced a few of my current teammates and my former teammates hit it," Kopitar said to the NHL. "Just to be in that position is pretty cool."

Tweet from @LAKings: ���I know I wouldn���t have had the career I���ve had without playing beside him.��� - @dewyy8 on @AnzeKopitar reaching his 1,000th NHL game#GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/EIqBzvwsKe

The two-way forward has led the Kings in scoring in 10 of the past 11 seasons and is well respected around the league. 

"He's been a good player for a long time, the reason they won a couple Cups, so it's impressive that he got to 1,000 that quickly," Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said. "A special player, and a tough player to play against, too."

Tweet from @Patrick_ONeal: Congrats @AnzeKopitar on 1000 games. Honor to watch you play and to have seen what you accomplished with @LAKings 🏆 🏆 - more to comeCan���t spell Slovenia without Love. #SelkeSmooth

Tweet from @GasperKopy13: @LAKings @AnzeKopitar #KOPI1000 pic.twitter.com/bwDemLb9qm

Jonathan Quick, who was drafted in 2005 alongside Kopitar, is constantly impressed by how well-rounded the forward is. 

"The most impressive thing about him and why I like him so much is how responsible he is and how he helps the defensemen and helps the goalie, always low, covering his guy," Quick said to The Athletic

"He just brings such a calm presence to the locker room and to the ice, especially high-pressure situations where you're trying to win games to get into the playoffs or win playoff games," Quick added. "He's just so consistent and calm and just does his job."  

Video: CGY@LAK: Kings honor Kopitar for 1,000th game

At 31, Kopitar is showing no signs of slowing down. Just last year, he was a finalist for the Hart Trophy after an impressive season and he continues to lead the Kings in offensive contributions. 

Among the Kings this season, he ranks first in points, assists and short-handed goals and is tied for first in both goals and game-winning goals. As the Kings recreate their roster moving forward, it will be around the 6'3" Slovenian. 

"I'm very fortunate to be here for an extended period of time," Kopitar said to the Athletic. "There's not a place I'd rather be."

Kopitar will be honored on Saturday in the Kings' final regular season game of the year. 

Be at STAPLES Center for the celebration! 

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