Kopitar leads the way for Slovenia
Slovenia is returning to the premier level of international men's hockey.
Anze Kopitar of the NHL's Los Angeles Kings set up four goals during a 7-1 win over Japan at the IIHF's Division 1 tournament in Ljubljana on Thursday, earning the host country a berth in the 2008 world championship in Halifax and Quebec.
Not surprisingly given he's the only NHL talent taking part, Kopitar leads the entire tournament in scoring with 12 points in four games, all Slovene wins against the likes of Romania (10-0), Hungary (4-1), Britain (4-0) and Japan (7-1).
The Group A series, meanwhile, is being held in Qiqihar, China, of all places, and Saturday's final game between France and Kazakhstan will determine who advances from that pool. You have to wonder what the attendance has been like in this northern region of China given the host team has lost all four games by a combined score of 36-5.
The top division tournament begins next Friday (April 27) in Moscow.