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‘He’s got that fiery spirit.’ Kings’ Jonathan Quick keeps defying time, chasing wins

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Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick crouches in goal and looks down at the ice.
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, despite his age, is not going to give up playing on the ice. (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

Over a dozen goalkeepers challenged Jonathan Quick hold on to the web of kings. None succeeded.

Likewise, Jason LaBarbera, Jonathan Bernier, Ben Scrivens, Peter Buday, Ben Bishop, Jeff Zatkoff, Martin Jones, Jonas Enroth, Jack Campbell, Darcy Kemper or more recently Cal Petersen .

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When Petersen was named first starter last season, it seemed like the baton was being passed from the leaders of the Stanley Cup era to the next generation. But Quick wasn’t ready for nostalgia or reinforcement. He had his best season in recent history, averaging 2.59 goals and .910 shooting percentage to help the Kings return to the playoffs. He also earned a shutout in their seven-game loss to Edmonton in the postseason.

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“Every day you come and try to be a little better. When you have the opportunity to play, you try to make the most of it. It’s nothing more than that,” said Quick, experiencing so many rivals.

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He still holds the torch, but the question is how long will he hold it.

The Milford, Connecticut native turns 37 in January and his 10-year, $58 million contract expires after this season, meaning he could become an unrestricted free agent. Did he foresee this?

“Not.”

Has he talked to the Kings about a new contract?

“Not.”

So you don’t want to talk about it?

“I wouldn’t want to,” he said.

Blackhawks center Andreas Athanasiou tries to score against Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.
Blackhawks center Andreas Athanasiou (left) tries to score against Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick on November 10 in Los Angeles. (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

Fair. But any assessment of his performance this season has to admit that his job has become much more difficult.

The Kings have had to move away from “heavy” hockey and add speed and skill to become competitive again, but they have built a small defensive corps that is prone to making mistakes and bad reading, which exposes their goaltenders to dangerous shots. Quick’s 3.15 goals against average and 0.892 shooting percentage in 14 games (13 starts) reflect the team’s defensive errors as well as an increase in NHL scoring. Petersen, who should have stopped a short-handed shot that gave the New York Rangers a lead in the third period on Tuesday to secure their 5-3 victory over the Kings, is 3.56 and .876.

Quick said his 6-6-1 record “is something I need to be better at,” politely omitting that he hasn’t always gotten the defensive backing he once could have relied on.

“I think the league is playing a different game right now, so teams are better at creating scoring opportunities,” Quick said, which amounted to a speech from someone who would rather click than a camera or microphone. “Number of videos and analytics. I mean, there are guys who play the way the analytics tells them. So much more is happening than 10-12 years ago.

“Our duty is to protect him. Looking at it from an analytical perspective, where the shots are likely to come from, it’s a different league. Obviously the dynamics of the team here have changed depending on how the league is progressing.”

Petersen remains the heir apparent, despite failing to take advantage of his chances. Whenever Quick hands over the initial task, the end of an era occurs.

After all this time – Quick made his NHL debut on December 6, 2007 and became a regular in the 2008-2009 season – after two Stanley Cup victories, the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the 2012 playoffs, the Jennings Trophy in 2018 – as the main goaltender on the team that has scored the fewest goals — and with so many key wins, it’s hard to imagine anyone else as the Kings’ No. 1 goaltender.

“Every day you come and try to be a little better. When you have the opportunity to play, you try to make the most of it. It’s nothing more.”

Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick

“It’s been an incredible career for him and it’s certainly not over yet,” said goaltending coach Bill Ranford. “He was the guy who gave us the opportunity to win. The boys came and he was still able to hold the fort. This is a compliment to him. He has this fiery spirit and he still doesn’t want to let it go at this moment.”

Quick did well to weather the chaos that followed management’s determined drive to win in 2012 and 2014. Talents replenished slowly. The core was broken. Dustin Brown’s retirement after leaving Quick last season, Anze Kopitarand protector Drew Doughty like holdovers from two Cup champions.

If Quick is proud to have survived perestroika intact, he didn’t say so.

“It’s the same as the years when you are successful. You show up, you work. Whether it’s a good game or a bad one, you have to move forward,” he said. “It’s good to be in a place where we made the playoffs last year and now we’re in the playoffs. But now we have to fight to keep this place.”

Quick continues to climb the list of excellent American-born goaltenders. He ranks fourth in regular season games played (726) behind John Vanbiesbroek (882) and fourth in wins with 365, four short of third-place Tom Barrasso and within striking distance of Ryan Miller’s record (391). ). goaltender, with 57. With 92 playoff games, Quick is second behind Barrasso with 119. With 49 playoff wins, he is 12 behind Barrasso.

He does everything the old fashioned way: he neglects analytics and uses it “as little as possible.” Ranford does not force-feed him. “We’re just looking at his game and trying to keep him playing in the best possible way,” Ranford said. “The only thing he cares about is winning. And that’s how he’s always approached it.”

Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick defends the glove against the Panthers on November 5 in Los Angeles.
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick defends the glove against the Panthers on November 5 in Los Angeles. (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

Quick is not going to change his approach or standards while the torch is still in his hands.

“Every year when you come, you want to win the Cup. If anyone has a different idea of ​​what they want to do this year, then we don’t have it,” he said. “Every day you work to be a playoff team. And when you become a playoff team, you work to win 16 games. Honestly, that’s the only reason to play this game, so everything else is a disappointment.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.



Source: sports.yahoo.com

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