Here’s the brief Q-and-A between NBC’s Jeremy Roenick and the Kings’ Jonathan Quick, who will start in goal for Team USA’s Olympic opener Thursday morning:
Roenick: Jonathan, you just got named starting goaltender for the Olympics 2014, how does that make you feel?
Quick: “Ah, well, I believe it’s just for tomorrow’s game. Yeah, continue to focus on what we have to do to win tomorrow’s game. Obviously, in a short tournament you want to make the most of every time you’re on the ice, whether it’s in practice or in a game. So, we’ve got to do all that preparation tonight and tomorrow get ready for the game.”
Roenick: What are your impressions of the team? You guys have skated a couple of times now. What do you see in front of you? What are the strengths of the team?
Quick: “We’ve got a lot of speed. We’ve got a lot of guys that are skilled and could put the puck in the net and create opportunities. We’ve got guys who can grind and try to tire out their team deep in their corners. So, on the D end, we’ve got some good stay-at-home guys and some good puck-movement guys. At the end of the day, you’ve just got to try to out-work the other team and be more prepared than they are.”
Roenick: What about the Olympic style and the bigger ice? What kind of challenge does that pose for a goaltender? Anything different with the big ice sheet?
Quick: “It changes the angles a little bit, not much that it’s that significant. You just … it kind of … it just makes you … it keeps you on your toes a little more. You make sure you’re on the puck ready to roll at all times. It’s obviously not what you’re used to playing on, so mentally you’ve got to be on top of it. Make sure you’re on your angles.”
Canada has the most depth.
The U.S. and Finland have the best goaltending.
Russia has home-ice advantage.
Sweden has fine depth and superb goaltending.
My picks … Gold: Canada; Silver: Russia: Bronze: U.S.
Colin Fraser cleared waivers Sunday and the Kings assigned him to their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H. Fraser has two assists and 30 penalty minutes in 33 games with the Kings this season. Overall, he has 58 points, including 20 goals, and 290 penalty minutes in 358 games in his NHL career with the Kings, Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks.
The Kings re-assigned goaltender Martin Jones and forward Tyler Toffoli to their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H., for the Olympic break. The team also recalled goalie J.F. Berube. Jones won his first eight NHL starts and is 8-4-0 overall with a 1.71 goals-against average for the Kings. Toffoli has 19 points (10 goals, 19 assists) in 38 games for the Kings. Berube has a 19-13-2 record and a 2.43 goals-against average for Manchester.
Here’s what the NHL’s department of player safety said Friday, on the day after the Kings’ Dustin Brown cracked the Columbus Blue Jackets with a shot to the head: “As per Rule 48, we have taken into account point (ii) Whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position by assuming a posture that made head contact on an otherwise full body check unavoidable. At moment of contact Brown’s elbow is tucked & his skates are on the ice. Arm flare & elevation are AFTER contact.”
The Kings and Montreal Canadiens swapped minor-league forwards Thursday. The Kings acquired right wing Steve Qualier from Montreal in exchange for forward Robert Czarnik. Qualier, 24, is expected to be sent to the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H. He was Montreal’s third-round pick in 2008 and has played for Hamilton of the AHL for the past two seasons after playing at Northeastern from 2008-12. He had five points, including one goal, in 15 games for Hamilton this season. Czarnik, 24, also was a third-round pick in 2008. He had five points, including one goal, in 29 games for Manchester this season.
The Kings returned defenseman Jeff Schultz to their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H., without actually playing him in a game. Schultz has played 41 games with the Monarchs, recording seven points (one goal, six assists), plus 14 penalty minutes. The move comes before the NHL freeze on player movement begins Friday in advance of the Olympic break.
The Kings’ ongoing losing skid has sent ripples across the hockey world, including one sports book in Las Vegas. As recently as last month, the Kings were healthy 14/1 favorites to win the Stanley Cup. But they’ve dropped to 16/1 in the latest odds released Tuesday from Bovada,lv. The defending champion Chicago Blackhawks remained the favorites to win the Stanley Cup at 11/2, followed by the Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues at 6/1, the Ducks at 7/1 and then the Boston Bruins at 9/1 and the San Jose Sharks at 10/1.
Not sure what Vegas sees in the Blues, frankly.
Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr is set to play his 1,000th game in the NHL when the team hosts the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon at Staples Center. The Kings plan to honor his milestone achievement with a pregrame ceremony. Regehr has played 999 games during his career with the Kings, Calgary Flames and Buffalo Sabres. Saturday’s opening faceoff is at 1 p.m.