Goaltender Jonathan Quick talks about former Kings teammate Jack Johnson

Here’s the third and final part of Thursday’s Q-and-A with Jonathan Quick.

Question: Is it still weird to see Jack Johnson out there with the Blue Jackets?

Quick: “That’s part of the game. Guys get traded. Guys get called up and sent down. Nothing’s guaranteed in this league. It is what it is. You hate to see him go, but you know it’s part of the game. It’s a business. I’ve talked with him. He’s happy there. He really loves it. That’s all you hope for, that guys are happy where they’re at.”

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Kings at the World Championships, Day 13.

Jack Johnson and Team USA had nothing for the Czech Republic in a 4-0 loss Wednesday, ending their run at the IIHF World Championships. Jaromir Jagr had a hat trick and Ondrej Pavelec made 29 saves. The U.S. was outshot 39-29 while finishing out of medal contention for the seventh consecutive season.

Johnson was a minus-1 in 21:13 for the game. For the tournament, he had a goal and two assists in seven games, finishing with a cumulative minus-4 rating, and averaging a team-best 23:24 TOI.

Here’s a link to a PDF document of Team USA’s stats. It’s pretty clear why they failed to medal — among their leading scorers were the New York Rangers’ Derek Stepan, and University of Wisconsin sophomore Craig Smith.

Jonathan Bernier and Team Canada are back in action tomorrow.

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Kings at the World Championships, Day 11.

Jonathan Bernier engaged in his first duel with Erik Ersberg since the most recent Kings training camp. Monday’s duel was far more entertaining.

Bernier made 23 saves in Canada’s 3-2 win over Sweden in Kosice, Slovakia on Monday. Erbserg battled well in a game in which Sweden was outshot 43-25, making 40 saves. The teams were tied 2-2 when Rick Nash deflected a Brent Burns shot past Ersberg with Canada on the power play at 12:31 of the third period.

Both teams get to keep playing, and could meet again in the finals. Canada will play Russia in the single-elimination quarterfinals on Thursday. Sweden plays Germany on Wednesday.

Earlier Monday, Jack Johnson and Team USA lost a relatively inconsequential 5-3 game to Swizterland. Johnson played a scoreless 23:49 (leading the U.S. in time on ice) and finished a minus-3.

The U.S. plays the Czech Republic on Wednesday in the quarterfinals. The winner of that game meets the winner of Germany-Sweden in the semifinals.

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Kings at the World Championships, Day 9. Update.

Jonathan Bernier’s last game before Saturday was an April 4 relief appearance in the Kings’ 6-1 loss to the Sharks in San Jose.

His thoughts, as told to IIHF.com, following Team Canada’s 3-2 win over Norway were understandable: “I was excited,” said Bernier, “because I haven’t played for about a month, so for me the big thing was to get that first shot on goal and get used to the bigger ice surface.”

Bernier finished with 25 saves, allowing both Norway goals in the final 10 minutes after Jason Spezza, John Tavares and James Neal spotted Canada a 3-0 lead.

James Reimer, who had started every game for Canada at the tournament prior to Saturday, served as the backup to Bernier rather than play on back-to-back days.

With the win, Canada clinched one of eight spots in the quarterfinal round.

Jack Johnson and Team USA breathed more life into their quarterfinal aspirations Saturday, while Michal Handzus and Team Slovakia met a disappointing fate.
Continue reading “Kings at the World Championships, Day 9. Update.” »

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Kings at the World Championships, Day 8. Update.

Historically, shootouts have been a more popular means for deciding hockey games in Europe than North America. When in Slovakia …

Canada beat the United States, 4-3, in qualification-round play in Kosice, getting shootout goals from Rick Nash and Jordan Eberle to seal the win. Ty Conklin made 48 saves between regulation and overtime, but couldn’t stop either shootout attempt he faced. Kings defenseman Jack Johnson, who went first, and Blake Wheeler missed on both U.S. shots.

Johnson scored his first goal of the tournament in the second period to temporarily give the U.S. a 2-1 lead. He finished a plus-1 in 28 minutes, including more than half (2:38) of the overtime period.

Just as they would in an NHL game, the U.S. gets a point for the shootout loss. They moved into sole possession of fourth place in Group F, from which four teams will advance into the next (playoff) round. Canada leads the group with seven points.

Later Friday, Michal Handzus and Team Slovakia lost 3-2 to the rival Czechs, crushing their chances of advancing out of the Qualification Round. Now, according to IIHF.com, Slovakia needs to win its games against Finland and Denmark, and Finland shouldn’t take points in its last game against Russia.

Handzus played a scoreless 18:56 in the game, which was played in Bratislava, less than three hours from Handzus’ hometown of Banska Bystrica.

Martin Havlat, Marek Zidlicky and Patrik Elias scored for the Czechs.

Jonathan Bernier is expected to start for Team Canada tomorrow against Norway.

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Kings at the World Championships, Day 6.

Jack Johnson couldn’t do much about a 6-2 U.S. loss to Sweden on Wednesday at the World Championships — a game that is being replayed right now on Versus.

The Kings defenseman played a team-high 19:46, putting four shots on goal and finishing with an even-0 rating.

Now that group play is complete, the U.S. has three games scheduled for the qualification round: Friday against Canada (and, possibly, Jonathan Bernier), Saturday against France, and Monday against Switzerland, all in Kosice.

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Kings at the World Championships, Day 4.

Jack Johnson had an assist in the U.S.’s come-from-behind 4-2 win over Norway on Monday in Kosice, Slovakia.

Norway scored twice in the first period and still led 2-0 until the first of four U.S. goals at 1:16 of the third period. Nick Palmieri broke the shutout with the first of his two goals. Jack Skille and Craig Smith also scored for the U.S.

Johnson was a minus-2 with four shots on goal in 22:42.

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Kings at the World Championships, Day 2. Update.

Team USA beat Austria 5-1 on Saturday at the IIHF World Championships in Slovakia, and Jack Johnson pitched in with an assist in a team-leading 23:27 time on ice.

According to a report in USA Today, Johnson arrived at the tournament last night.

“I can’t say enough about (Johnson),” Team USA head coach Scott Gordon told the newspaper. “The call goes out to him, and it wasn’t, ‘I got to see if I’m healthy or check with my agent.’ It was, ‘When does the flight leave?’ … I was excited when they told me he was coming over because he gives it everything he has.”

The U.S. plays Norway on Monday.

A couple other notes from the tournament:

Anze Kopitar’s father, Matjaz, is the head coach of the Slovenian national team that lost to Slovakia, 3-1 on Friday night.

Former Kings goalie Erik Ersberg was in the losing net in Norway’s 5-4 shootout win over Sweden today. According to IIHF.com, it was Norway’s first win ever in international championship competition over Sweden, a history that extends back 61 years.

Update: The Kings announced that forward Michal Handzus has been added to the roster for Team Slovakia. He joins Johnson and Jonathan Bernier (Canada) as the only Kings players in the tournament.

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Worlds begin, sans Bernier and Johnson.

Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier was added to Team Canada’s roster at the IIHF World Championships, which began today in Slovakia without him.

Bernier was not among the 19 players — six defensemen, 11 forwards and two goalies — who helped Canada beat Belarus 4-1 in their first game of the tournament.

In fact, neither he nor Kings defenseman Jack Johnson have been added to the official rosters of Canada or the U.S., respectively.

You can follow the tournament in its entirety from the IIHF website.

Bernier, 22, most recently earned a gold medal for Team Canada at the 2008 World Junior Championships (two games played, 1-1-0 record, 2.00 goals-against-average, .947 save percentage and one shutout) – one of four Kings to play for the team (Drew Doughty, Wayne Simmonds and Thomas Hickey). Bernier has also represented Canada at 2006 World U18 Championships and 2007 Super Series (best junior players from Canada and Russia competing); represented the QMJHL in the Canada-Russia Challenge in 2006; and he represented Team Canada Quebec at 2004 World U17 Hockey Challenge.

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San Jose 4, Kings 3, OT.

“Overtime” and “heartbreak” went together well for the Kings in this year’s playoffs. So did “Staples Center” and “heartbreak.”

“Kings” and “heartbreak”? Stop me if you’ve heard that one before.

Joe Thornton’s goal at 2:22 of overtime ended the Kings’ season Monday with a 4-3 loss at Staples. The Kings finished 0-3 at home in the series, 0-3 in overtime, and finished this season right where they ended the last: Done for the season after six playoff games.

Players and coaches won’t be available to the media tomorrow, so a full-fledged “obituary” of the season will have to wait until Wednesday.

The hot-button issue after the game was the absence of Terry Murray and any Kings coaches in the postgame handshake, as described here and here.

I put a request out to the Kings for comment. Like the obituary, it may have to wait.

A few factoids for now:
Continue reading “San Jose 4, Kings 3, OT.” »

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