How quickly we forget that the Los Angeles Kings’ goalie was smiling, framed between the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe trophies. If the Kings steamrolled through the playoffs, Jonathan Quick rolled in place, dominating the playoffs from the crease with an NHL best 1.41 GAA average in the playoffs. The Kings were the Stanley Cup champions in tied for the fewest games ever since the playoffs went to its current format.
It is really the most fitting image—thinking of the Kings roster, moving fluidly and in unison, dominating the forecheck on the ice, that the King of the Kings is the most stationary figure. Quick, the King of Kings, looks over the team from his blue throne, and instills confidence in his subjects, his teammates.
What else is there to say about Quick? “What a *&%$%%$ guy.” His F bomb, and follow up bomb for good measure, were the buzzworthy moments of the Kings Stanley Cup victory parade and celebration. But he always steals the show because his dominant play on the ice, and down to earth persona make him the most beloved member of the Kings. It is true of most hockey players, but Jonathan Quick particularly oozes regular guy. Most regular guys can’t bend and contort and keep 100+ mph shots out of the net, but when he’s off the ice he looks the part of a regular guy.
Quick got his first taste of the NHL at 22 years old. He played half the team’s game in ’08-’09, but has been the number 1 for the Kings since the following year when he started 72 games, had 39 wins, a GAA of 2.54, and all at 24 years old. His consistency really took the Kings to a new level in the playoffs. And if he hadn’t been so consistent all season, the Kings never would have made the playoffs. Quick carried the Kings throughout all of their scoring droughts all season. He sets the tone from the goal because he plays such an aggressive style of goalie. He comes far out of the crease to challenge shooters, and eats up anything down low.
Quick is not the captain, but his leadership makes Dustin Brown’s job easier. He is not the coach, but his ability allows Darryl Sutter to implement his game plan. He is not the GM, but Dean Lombardi didn’t draft Quick either. And he’s not the best goal scoring option on the team, but the load is a lot lighter on Anze Kopitar when he only needs to score 1 goal, and not a handful. Quick is absolutely the most important and valuable player on the Kings. Dean Lombardi thought so when he signed Quick to a 10 year, $58 million extension following the playoff run.
Quick should be running this town as the MVP of a Stanley Cup Champion, the first in the franchise’s history. But because of the lockout Quick and the Kings are being quickly forgotten by the average fans and even above average fans. Forget the other LA teams not living up to expectations, the biggest regret of the 2012-2013 LA sports calendar will be the Kings not being able to defend their Cup. It’s a huge missed opportunity to build the sport and league in the second biggest market in the country. If the owners and players union don’t come to an agreement, Quick will have to keep training, and settle for his accolade as Number 5 on our list of the Most Important People in Sports in LA Today.