During practice today, Dean Lombardi talked extensively about rookie goalie Jonathan Quick, including Quick’s development over the past couple years, where his game is right now and the possibility that Quick could stick around for the long term. In the first part, Lombardi talks about Quick’s first year in the organization, in which he had to overcome a couple problems. Click below for the rest of the interview…
LOMBARDI: “He showed up late for practice a couple times, and that had to be dealt with. That wasn’t pretty. Then he worked his way back, and then he was a big part when that Manchester team last year was six points out of a playoff spot. They went on that run and he was a big part of carrying that team. That whole team played well, but he was a big part of it. It’s the not the first time. Nabokov had to do a little stint there. It’s not unusual. If you go back in history, guys have had to do little stints down there. The East Coast league is for goalies and tough guys. You can find guys like that down there.”
Question: What went into the decision to chose Quick over Jonathan Bernier when Ersberg got hurt?
LOMBARDI: “The reports I got from both, from Hex and Billy Ranford and the coaches, said they were really close, with a slight edge to (Quick). The overriding thing was seniority. He had paid his dues. If it’s even, he’s been a pro longer, and with what he did in Manchester last year… I know that in today’s society, seniority doesn’t matter, but we kind of said that it does.”
Question: He was here pretty late in training camp. Was he close to making it?
LOMBARDI: “For a goalie, I’d like to see two years (in the minors). He’s OK now, but in the back of my mind he was never really close. We came right into camp and said Barbs (Jason LaBarbera) was our No. 1 guy. Part of that was because we thought these guys have to do some time in order to be properly ready. So he would be a half-year ahead if he were to stay here now, which isn’t too bad, but we’ll see. It’s still early.”
Question: Are you inclined to let him run with this thing for as long as he can?
LOMBARDI: “Well, with where his game is at right now, and if he’s showing he can handle it mentally… It’s like every kid out there. You monitor it day to day. I don’t care if it’s Lewis or Purcell or whoever. I don’t know. We’ll see. I thought he was pretty good last night. In the Columbus game, there weren’t a lot of tests, but there were a lot of tests last night that didn’t show up on the scoreboard.”
Question: How do you think he has grown mentally since the stuff in the ECHL?
LOMBARDI: “A pretty smart guy told me once that when it comes to goalies, you look for the swagger. Stop the puck, and swagger. If you want the technical side, you’ve got two Conn Smythe Trophy winners (Hextall and Ranford), so you should talk to them. Billy Ranford did a lot of work with him. We’ve got two goalies guys, because we have all these guys in the system and that’s a lot of work. They’re running from Ontario to the East Coast league. They’re running to Manchester and running to junior. It’s nice, because (Quick) has come up under Billy, and hopefully he will justify all the work he has put in with him. The thing with Quick is, athletically, he might be our best athlete, pure athlete. But when he was at UMass, he was so good that he never had to do the technical part. He did the little (Mike) Vernon things once in a while. Kind of like, `I dare you to shoot there,’ just so he could make it look good, because he could at that level. He carried that team, that UMass program. He basically carried them to the playoffs and everything. But then you get to this level, and you can’t be doing that stuff. You’ve got to combine his athleticism with tightening his holes, and that’s what Billy is working on. The irony is this. Here’s Billy teaching him, a guy who is athletic and likes the flair, to be much more calm and technical, and we all know how Billy was. Billy was a hell of an athlete, but he would be all over the place. So if you can combine Billy’s competitiveness — and same with Hexy — with the competitive side, you’ve got something.”