For those who might not know a lot about Jonathan Quick, he’s a 22-year-old Connecticut native who was drafted by the Kings in the third round (72nd overall) in 2005 and played two seasons at UMass-Amherst before he turned pro. Quick spent the 2007-08 season at three levels, as he played 38 games for Reading in the ECHL, 19 games for Manchester in the AHL and three games for the Kings. As you might have read in the Dean Lombardi interview, it was something of a challenging first pro season for Quick, who had to deal with a couple off-ice issues in Reading.
This season, Quick had a 6-5-2 record, a 2.68 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage with Manchester before the Kings recalled him. With the Kings, he has two shutouts in five starts and has allowed eight goals in five games (13 periods) overall.
Here’s a fairly lengthy interview with Quick, done after today’s practice…
Question: You chose to go to college (UMass) over junior hockey. Why was that?
QUICK: “Where I grew up, there were a bunch of colleges in the area, being from New England. I always kind of wanted to go the college route. I had a good opportunity at UMass-Amherst, so I just tried to take advantage of that.”
Question: Dean Lombardi talked about your dad, and how he supports you but tells you to appreciate what you have…
QUICK: “Yeah, absolutely. You have to appreciate what you’re given. I’m in a situation that not a lot of people get to enjoy, so I’ve got to enjoy every day and try to take advantage of it.”
Question: Watching last night’s game, it seemed that you had to work a bit for that shutout. Is that how it was?
QUICK: “Well, the team did a great job in front of me. I think we had four or five PKs there in the third, and that PK unit was great. They allowed me to see the shots, and the ones I couldn’t see, they were blocking. We had some good backchecks. Kopitar had one of the backchecks of the night, when he went down and blocked a 2-on-1 through the slot. So I got a lot of help and it was just good to get a win there.”
Question: Coming out of college, did you have a plan in mind for yourself, as for how you wanted things to go?
QUICK: “I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to play hockey, so that’s why I ended up leaving school early and trying to pursue that.”
Question: The detour to the East Coast league, was that a little unexpected? What did you get out of that?
QUICK: “I learned a lot. I played a lot of games down there. I saw a lot of pucks and kind of got an understanding for the professional level, being my first time in the professional ranks. Maybe I wasn’t too happy to go down there at first, but looking back on it, I learned a lot down there and I think it helped my game.”
Question: Ron Hextall went down there and talked to you a bit about practice habits, is that right?
QUICK: “Yeah, that’s something that the organization instills with the whole team, from L.A. down to Manchester and Ontario. You’ve got to give them what they’re asking for. It’s not too much, what they’re asking for.”
Question: You mentioned not being happy about going to the ECHL. Other than the obvious of not being in the NHL, did you just not expect to be at that level then?
QUICK: “Well, you come in hoping for the best. You try to work at that. They had a good crop of goalies at the time, and they still do in this organization. It was kind of a lesson learned, that you have to fight for everything, every inch.”
Question: Was there anything in particular that helped get you through that? Just working through it?
QUICK: “Yeah, you just kind of have to work through it, put your time in. You prove yourself at that level and then you try to work yourself up.”
Question: Has playing in the NHL been what you expected so far? Has anything particularly surprised you?
QUICK: “You get a taste of it at camp, so you have a little bit of an understanding of what’s going on. I wouldn’t say there’s too many surprises. It’s just a lot of hard work.”
Question: Getting a taste of it last year, did that help calm the nerves a little bit?
QUICK: “Yeah, it made it a little bit easier. You’ve already been through it a little bit, so it makes it a bit easier coming in, when you get called up. You’ve just got to try to take what they give you.”
Question: The fact that they’re looking for a goalie here, for a long-term answer, how much motivation is that for you, to know that you’re in that mix?
QUICK: “No matter what the situation is, to be part of something like this, that should be enough motivation. Not even looking at any of the other factors. They’ve got a couple of great goalies here, in Jason and Erik, so that makes it a little more competitive and I think it brings the best out in some people.”