Following up on the previous post…the Kings are working on a trade involving Jason LaBarbera. I don’t have the particulars, and it’s still a work in progress, but we should know something by tomorrow.
Viatcheslav Voynov had two assists and a plus-one rating today in Russia’s 8-1 victory over Slovakia. That was the only World Juniors game today involving a Kings prospect. Tomorrow, it’s Sweden vs. Russia and Canada vs. USA on the final day of round-robin play. Quarterfinals are Friday, with the semifinals on Saturday and the final on Monday. (correction, thanks to Paul)
Here’s what i know at this point…
1) Jonathan Quick is staying, and almost certainly will start in goal Saturday.
2) Erik Ersberg is healthy and ready to go.
3) Brian Boyle will be back in Los Angeles at the end of the week if…
4) …the Kings are able to make another move to clear a roster spot. It’s not 100-percent certain that they will, but they’re trying, and it’s expected to sort itself out very soon. All of my information is off the record at this point but…do a little critical thinking on this one, ladies and gents…
6) Teddy Purcell practiced with the first line today and likely will play there Saturday.
Here are the best parts of the interview I did with coach Karl Taylor, about Jonathan Quick. Taylor coached Quick when Quick played for the Reading Royals of the ECHL last season and was credited by Dean Lombardi for helping Quick improve. Taylor is now the coach of the Kings’ ECHL affiliate in Ontario. Here’s the interview…
Question: It must bring you some pride to see Quick playing in the NHL…
TAYLOR: “It does, but it’s all on the kid. He’s athletically unbelievable. His athleticism is something I’ve never seen in a goaltender. He was the first player I’ve ever had where I looked at him and said, `He’s going to make it.’ Playing in the East Coast league, it’s a long road for prospects, but I knew Jon was going to get an opportunity.”
Question: I understand there were some things you had to help him through, off the ice…
TAYLOR: “The No. 1 thing for any college kid is learning how to be professional, learning how to show up every day, be on time, be responsible, cook for yourself and just learning how to prepare. Nobody is going to hold your hand. I think one of the best things that happens on the East Coast level is that we house the players together. They’re together way more than they would normally be. That helps the guys.”
Question: Jon talked about being a little disappointed to be in the ECHL then. Did he ever show that?
TAYLOR: “He was not negative in any way. He came to practice and he worked extremely hard. There was no, `I feel sorry for myself.’ There was no, `Poor me.’ Our team fell in love with him from day one, in large part because of how competitive he was. The guy never wants to get scored on, even in practice. He really makes his teammates love him quickly.”
Question: When you’re dealing with prospects in the ECHL, is it hard to keep them focused? Do you have to keep them focused on what they’re doing, and not having them worry about how the other prospects are doing?
TAYLOR: “That’s always the issue. `Why am I here and why isn’t the other guy?’ It’s a process. Jon played almost 20 games in a row for us, which is a ton of hockey when you’re playing that much. I believe in a lot of communciaton with my players. I tell them exactly what I think, every single day. He had a couple blips there, where he was late. He just had to learn how to be a professional. It wasn’t because of something else. He wasn’t staying out all night. He was just a heavy sleeper and slept through his alarms. It’s a hard lesson to learn. I sat down with him and said, `Let’s make ourselves both look great. Let’s make you ultra-professonal.’ I hooked him up with some veteran players and spent a lot of time talking to him about expectations. He was great, never a problem.”
Finally, Taylor offered up his favorite memory of Quick…
TAYLOR: “The best game Jon Quick played for us was an 8-6 loss. We had 11 players and (Cincinnati) had 29 Grade-A scoring chances in the game. We had three defensemen and one of them was a forward. Crazy stuff. He kept us right in the game until there were two minutes left and they scored an empty-netter. Jon deserves all the credit he’s getting.”
From the shameless-promotion department, here’s the feature I wrote for this morning’s paper on Jonathan Quick. I have a bunch of extra quotes about Quick, from goalie coach Bill Ranford and former Reading coach Karl Taylor (who now coaches in Ontario), so assuming everyone isn’t suffering from Jon Quick fatigue, I’ll post some more stuff…
KINGS HEAD COACH TERRY MURRAY:
(Re: game recap): “The effort was pretty good. You always want it to be better when you lose the game, but you have a tight checking game, you have two teams that are battling for position and are very close to each other, in a conference situation, and a big majority of the game is 0-0. You have a lot of good checking going on, a lot of blocking of shots, both goaltenders played well and made big stops, and both teams had good scoring chances that they are not able to finish.”
(Re: Jonathan Quick’s play): “He’s giving us a chance to win the game every game that he’s played and that’s all you can ask from any goaltender. We have to score some goals for him. He’s played with a lot of energy and a lot of composure and he’s giving us a good look and it’s nice to see that we have good young guys like this in the organization.”
KINGS: FORWARD PATRICK O’SULLIVAN:
(Re: game recap): “I don’t think we played hard enough and consistently across the game. We’ve been so close in some of these last couple of games. We really have to start to approach things like it’s make or break. You can go one direction or another this time of year. I guess the good news is that we’re going to try to take advantage of the next couple practices and try to improve there.”
(Re: winless in last two home games): “It’s something that can’t happen. Every team that makes the playoffs has a good home record and it’s got to be a lot harder for teams to come in here and play against us. I just think we have to come in with a different mindset and carry that out through the whole game.”
KINGS: DEFENSEMAN DREW DOUGHTY:
(Re: game recap): “It’s a pretty disappointing loss. We didn’t play very solid defensively and Quick was very solid tonight and there was one lucky bounce in that power-play goal. We didn’t come out strong defensively, but we have these next four days off and some time to think about it and come out with more of a playoff attitude and win a bunch of games.”
Postgame notes from the Kings…
— Columbus’ goal 18:36 into the second period broke the Kings’ consecutive scoreless streak against the Blue Jackets at 186:39 (dating back to last season).
— Jonathan Quick was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week (ending Dec. 28). He posted a 2-1-0 record with a 0.67 GAA, .958 save percentage and two shutouts in three games. Quick is the first Kings award-winner since Anze Kopitar was named No. 3 Star of the Week Dec. 9, 2007.
— Quick has stopped 134 of 143 shots in six appearances this season (.937 save percentage).
— The Kings have allowed 101 goals through 37 games this season. Through 37 games last season they allowed 125.
— The Kings finished the 2008 calendar year 33-35-11.
Yet another shutout in a Kings-Blue Jackets game… This time it goes Columbus’ way, as the Blue Jackets got stellar defense and ultra-steady goalie play from Mason in the victory. Kris Russell’s goal late in the second period, after a breakdown in front of the Kings’ net, was the only goal until Rick Nash’s empty-netter with 1:15 to play.
The Kings had only 22 shots on goal, to the Blue Jackets’ 25, so goalie Jonathan Quick once again put up solid numbers with 23 saves.
Drew Doughty led the Kings with 26 minutes, 2 seconds, of ice time.
Postgame quotes/notes to follow fairly shortly…