SLOVE­NIAN FAM­ILY FOR­TUNE

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

Ko­pi­tar, a dy­namic of­fen­sive tal­ent who has led the Kings in scor­ing for five con­sec­u­tive sea­sons, knows Slove­nia will face a daunt­ing task in Sochi, where its group also in­cludes pow­er­house host Rus­sia, 2010 Olympic sil­ver medal­ist the United States and Slo­vakia.

“We are go­ing to go there and com­pete and play to our po­ten­tial and try to sur­prise some guys,” said Ko­pi­tar.

“We are there for a rea­son. We have beaten some good teams and I think we are go­ing to have a de­cent squad.”

Asked to out­line his re­al­is­tic hopes for Slove­nia in Sochi, he said: “Our big­gest goal is just to go there and per­form, show that we can play hockey. We cer­tainly want to win some games.

“If that’s go­ing to hap­pen, it’s even bet­ter — but we are go­ing there to com­pete, play hockey and show, in the end, that we are a good hockey coun­try.”

Al­though the Sochi Games are less than two months away, Ko­pi­tar has plenty to oc­cupy him be­fore then on the NHL front with the Kings rid­ing high in the Western Con­fer­ence af­ter win­ning eight of their past 10 games.

“It is easy to for­get about Sochi at the mo­ment,” he said of play­ing for the 25-9-4 Kings, who sit third in the 14-team Western Con­fer­ence standings.

“Sochi is still a lit­tle ways away so you def­i­nitely want to stay in the present.

“We have been play­ing some pretty good hockey and we are go­ing to have to con­tinue to do that just to keep pace.

“When the time comes for the Olympic Games, then that’s go­ing to be fun.”

TOP: HARRY HOW / GETTY IM­AGES / AFP; BOT­TOM: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Mat­jaz Ko­pi­tar, head coach of Slove­nia’s na­tional team, stands on the bench dur­ing a game against the Czech Repub­lic at last spring’s IIHF world cham­pi­onship tour­na­ment in Stock­holm.

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