Despite previous declarations, by me, that they were “hangover proof”, the Los Angeles Kings have had a rough go at it so far this season after winning their first Stanley Cup title in franchise history in 2011-2012.
While no one is panicking yet, there is that dark cloud of a chance hanging over Hollywood that the Kings could actually miss the playoffs. If the play of Jonathan Quick doesn’t improve, that chance could become a reality. But that’s beginning to look highly unlikely, at least in regard to Quick.
Last year’s Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP, Quick began the season trapped in his own personal Stanley Cup hangover. After, quite literally, carrying the team on his back through much of the regular season last year (10 shutouts), he continued that play in the postseason. It was an effort that earned him a very lucrative 10-year contract extension.
This year hasn’t been the same story for Quick. His numbers aren’t awful, but they definitely aren’t on par with what he did last season. He surrendered five goals in the season opener and was pulled in another start after allowing two goals on three shots.
But while a .500 record and a .905 save percentage aren’t things to be too excited over, it isn’t time to panic over the play of Quick. Especially after considering what took place in the off-season.
Quick had back surgery over the summer, which was considered minor. But even a ‘minor’ surgery could have left his status up in the air to begin the season on time, if it had actually managed to begin on time. Regardless of how much time he had to recover, even with the extra time from the lockout, he was going to come out rusty.
Also consider that Quick has allowed just two goals on a combined 48 shots in his last two starts. That could be a pretty good indicator that he’s starting to show signs of coming out of this early season slump.
Jonathan Quick will be just fine. It’s only a matter of time before he starts stealing games for the Kings on a regular basis again. Which means bad news for the rest of the league, especially if the guys in front of him manage to find their game as well.