Kings center Anze Kopitar keeps on going, producing his finest stretch of hockey against a backdrop of an intense and prolonged contract negotiation.
But now the talks are close to completion and a deal should be wrapped up this week, a source with knowledge of the situation but not authorized to comment told The Times on Tuesday night. As of Wednesday afternoon, the deal was not completed but the sides were working “on details,” the source said.
Bob McKenzie of the Canadian cable network TSN reported earlier in the day that the deal is for eight years and $80 million deal. The average annual value is $10 million. Others familiar with the negotiations said the money figure was in that neighborhood.
“Things are moving along,” Kopitar said Wednesday. “I don’t know where the finish line is. We’ll see how quick we move, but things are moving.”
Progress apparently came after earlier reports of a potential impasse concerning what would be the biggest contract for the Kings organization in the salary-cap era.
The public scrutiny in connection with the negotiations has worn Kopitar down -- a bit. Not that it has shown on the ice.
“You guys know how Twitter works now, and everyone is constantly tweeting at you and messaging you and everything,” he said. “Part of it is that, part of it is just your buddies and closest buddies want to know what’s going on, when the news is going to come out, and it’s constant reminders all the time.
“... It wears down on you. So it’s easier to tell your buddies to wait and I’ll tell them when it’s all said and done.”
Center Vinny Lecavalier, who was traded to the Kings last week from Philadelphia, spoke about what it is like to play on the same team with Kopitar.
“Just from being in the East, you don’t see him,” Lecavalier said. “I know he’s really good and one of the best in the league, if not the best centerman in the league. But when you play with him -- little things you see from your teammates. It’s pretty incredible. It really is.
“Defensively, he’s solid with the puck. He’s amazing. Just the way he goes around guys and how strong and big he is. I never thought he was 230 [pounds]. He’s so big and strong [and] at the same time he’s got the hands of a [Pavel] Datsyuk.”