Don’t Play Too Quick


May 24, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) defends the goal against the Chicago Blackhawks in game three of the Western Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick began practicing this Saturday, September 20th.  It was the first time Quick was on the ice for Kings training camp that started Friday, September 19th. Quick is still recovering from off-season wrist surgery.

Quick sustained an injury to his wrist during the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Anaheim Ducks.  Quick didn’t miss any time, playing every game valiantly on route to the Kings second Stanley Cup victory.  The injury wasn’t made public until after the Kings lifted the cup.

Quick’s surgery took place on June 24th, eleven days after the finals ended.  Recovery and rehabilitation was expected to take 10-12 weeks, which would schedule his expected return anywhere from September 2nd to September 16th.

This is a situation, where, as the Rolling Stones would say, Time is on our side.

November 1, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (91) scores a 3rd period goal past the Carolina Hurricanes goalie Justin Peters (35) at PNC Center.The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

We live in an era that has mixed athletic superfreaks with cutting edge medical advancements and technology.  Players like Tampa Bay Lightning superstar Steven Stamkos, Ottawa Senators superstar defensemen Erik Karlsson and one of the NFL’s best players Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (well, not this Adrian Peterson, the good Adrian Peterson), not only recover weeks to months faster than expected but come back even stronger.  Some have even questioned if Karlsson is a wizard.  How far outside of Hogwarts Harry Potter’s magic reaches is unclear.  It seems a bit more likely that these recoveries are benefits and marvels of the time we live in.

Stamkos in particular recovered from a broken leg, that required surgery and an implant rod, in less than three months.  It’s almost as if he willed his leg to be ready for the Olympics so he could win the gold with team Canada.  Unfortunately that was not to be.  However, Stamkos came back before the end of the NHL regular season, finishing with 25 goals and 40 points in 37 games.  That’s ridiculous.  Many good players in the NHL don’t score 25 goals in a season, much less 37 games.  Conn Smythe winner Justin Williams, who’s also a three-time Stanley Cup champion, scored 19 goals in 82 games in the 2013-2014 season.  Williams was third in goals on the Kings.  Anze Kopitar led the Kings with 29 goals . . . in 82 games.

Surgical procedures are better than ever.  Players train at higher, healthier levels than ever before.  But every player and every injury is different.  That includes the aforementioned trememdously talented, and rapidly healing anomalies.

Quick stated after Saturday’s practice that he still did not feel one-hundred-percent.

There is no reason to rush Quick back.  The Kings have an unmatched depth at the goaltending position.  Martin Jones proved last season he can play in the NHL if needed.  Jones tied a record, winning his first eight NHL starts.  Over his first eleven NHL games he lead the league in goals against average and save percentage.

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This is a big year for Alex Turcotte and the Los Angeles Kings
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  • Jean-Francois Berube and Patrik Bartosak are young prospects that have tremendous pedigrees.  All the Mr. B-brothers need is experience.  That is what the preseason is for: giving young prospects a chance to see what it’s like to play at the NHL level.

    Quick is a seasoned professional after five full seasons in the NHL – two of which ended with him lifting the Cup.  Quick is arguably the best goaltender in the world.  He doesn’t need to develop his game.  He’s revolutionized the game.  Why push him to play in games that don’t factor in the standings, and would provide valuable experience for the younger up-and-coming crop of netminders?  Allow Quick to practice and rest.  It’s a win/win for the franchise.  It’s a week or two past his expected return date, don’t rush him, make sure he heals properly.  This is a long-term decision that needs to be made, for the benefit of the player and the franchise’s future.  When the regular season gets underway he will be ready to perform.  Whether it’s the regular season or playoffs Quick knows when to step up and answer the call, and he always does.

    So many great goaltenders in the orginization; let them soak up the preseason minutes while saving and protecting the King of Kings.