LA Kings: Jonathan Quick aims to prove job is his to lose

LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

LA Kings netminder Jonathan Quick had a difficult start to the 19-20 season, but he and the team had a strong finish before COVID-19 ended the year.

Cal Petersen still may be the future in goal for the LA Kings, but until then, Jonathan Quick remains the No. 1 man between the pipes in the City of Angels — and that certainly isn’t a bad thing.

While he may not be quite as dominant as he was from 2008 to 2014 — a span that saw him garner 175 wins, 31 shutouts, two Stanley Cups and even a Conn Smythe — Jonathan Quick nonetheless continues to show that he is a starter. While he rarely shows no imminent signs of slowing down, the native of Milford, CT, has struggled at times. Resilience, though, has been key.

In 2018-19, Quick recorded career-lows in goals-against average (3.38) and save percentage (.888). Last season, though, the 34-year-old fought back with a 2.79 GAA and a .904 save percentage, helping a rebuilding LA Kings squad find their footing, so to speak.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the NHL season was abruptly postponed. Unfortunately for the LA Kings, they were on a roll at the time of said postponement, winning seven-straight games and eight of their last ten.

Being just one of seven teams not having played since last March, Quick and the Kings are eager to get the new season started. In fact, in spite of the unusually long layoff, Quick, who spoke with the media on Saturday, is hoping that the silver-and-black can pick up right where they left off.

“I think as a team, we were playing some great hockey,” Quick said. “You know, February, March, I thought we were playing really great brand new hockey. We were beating playoff teams, and we’re competitive every night. So, I think that’s something that, even though it was unfortunately ten months ago, I think that’s something we could build off. We know what that feels like and we know what we have to do when we step out for a game, so we’re gonna build off that for sure.”

Prior to Saturday, some LA Kings veterans at training camp had admitted that the extended layoff was beneficial. Quick was asked if he felt a similar benefit.

“I mean, I think with anything, there’s positives and negatives,” the 2012 Conn Smythe winner began. “Yeah, I think some of the older guys, you play this long in the league, you’re gonna have some things bugging you here and there. So, you had plenty of time to heal up and get those all figured out. You know, but then, at the same time, it’s also ten months since we played a hockey game. So, you’re trying to, while you’re grateful that you’re healthy and feel good, you’re also trying to ramp it back up and, you know, get in game shape.”

The 2020-21 season will certainly be a different one.

Aside from the abbreviated 56-game schedule, the NHL has taken a page out of Major League Baseball’s book. In an effort to decrease travel time and keep its players safe and healthy from the ongoing pandemic, the NHL has implemented a new kind of schedule where teams face off consecutively. For instance, the LA Kings will kick off the season hosting the Minnesota Wild twice, then the Colorado Avalanche twice. Quick was asked whether this new format impacts his game-to-game preparation.

“No, I don’t think it really changes much,” the netminder admitted. “You know, we, for the most part, we played teams in the West and we play teams in our division the most so, you know, we– you scout them once or twice, you feel like you know them pretty well by the third game, for sure. So, whether you’re playing them once a month or three times in a weekend, like you, you know, there’s still a decent idea [of what] they’re trying to do and the same on there and they know what you’re trying to do.”

Back to Cal Petersen, Quick assured the media that he’s definitely excited for another season with the youngster under his wing.

“I’m looking forward to that,” Quick noted. “He’s a great teammate. He’s a great goalie. He, yeah, he competes ass off, he’s fun to play with. So, looking forward to it, for sure.”

As is the case with most teams entering the 2020-21 campaign, there are plenty of unanswered questions. This includes the Los Angeles Kings, although this time is one of eagerness for the short-term future. Jonathan Quick fits that bill as he enters his 13th full NHL season with a lot to prove, both to his team and to himself.

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Whether it’s his play in goal or his role in mentoring a young Cal Petersen, Jonathan Quick is certainly instilling a great deal of eagerness and excitement for the Kings’ ever-loyal fanbase. So, let us see what 2020-21 has in store for No. 32.