Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell was the latest player to come to the defense of goaltender Jonathan Quick, who’s misplay of a long clearing pass resulted in a 175-foot shorthanded goal for the New York Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh on Monday. Unlike the others, Mitchell laughed off the fans’ mock cheer after Quick saved a similar shot moments after the Rangers took a commanding 3-1 lead in the third period.
“I think as a player you have to expect it,” Mitchell said of the fans’ jeers. “I’m guessing, I would expect with our fans, they were doing it like a joke because it was such a freaky play. He could try to do that a thousand times over and it wouldn’t happen again. I think they were doing it just as a joke and having fun with the game. If you watched the game, if you watched how well ‘Quickie’ played. We played like beep in front of him. I think the shift before, he made three pad saves that were incredible.
“Everyone knows how important he is to our team, to how important he was to having a Stanley Cup here. I don’t think the fans were doing it … everyone knows how good a goalie he is. It was just in the moment, having a little fun with it. Sometimes, as an athlete, when you’re really as competitive as ‘Quickie Baby’ it’ll eat you up, that’s for sure. He’s fired up at the time and stuff like that. No one likes it when something like that happens, something embarrassing. No one likes that.
“As players, we see that happen and it’s unfortunate we didn’t have legs as a hockey club. We want to rally for him when something like that happens. He’s been so good for us. You want to do everything in your power. He’s a guy who never blames a defenseman (when goals are scored against the Kings). He always says, ‘Oh, I should have had that.’ He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had … so it’s unfortunate we were so flat and had such a poor game.”