Jonathan Quick recently caught a great deal of flack throughout the league, for an awful goal he surrendered early this week against the New York Rangers. The typically sure-handed Los Angeles Kings netminder went out to play the puck, and it somehow ended up behind him in his own net.
It was an uncharacteristic play for an elite goaltender in this league. At the same time, though, his aggressive style of game is going to lead to goals like that. Perhaps not necessarily as ugly in nature, but he is susceptible to giving up the occasional soft goal. Of course, he more than makes up for it with his outstanding play otherwise.
This season is a bit different, though. Quick is coming off of a disappointing season in 2013, that saw him finally round into form toward the tail end of the playoffs. He was able to attribute that slow start to offseason back surgery that limited him and prevented him from playing anywhere during the lockout.
He has no such excuses this season. He’s expected to come in and return to that Vezina Trophy form that saw him both emerge as a finalist for the trophy, as well as take home a Conn Smythe Trophy during the 2011-12 season. There’s more riding on his play this time around, though.
Quick is considered a favorite to take the Team USA goaltender job for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Of course, he’s up against some stiff competition that includes the likes of Jimmy Howard and Craig Anderson. At one point, Quick looked like the guy in a runaway. Not so much the case anymore.
Playing for that type of role, in earning the no. 1 goaltender gig to represent your country, means that Quick’s play is going to be magnified throughout the season. A goal like that is going to garner attention, regardless of the circumstances. Moving forward, though, Quick will likely be overanalyzed, as he not only tries to get back into that elite form, but tries to secure the job as the starting goaltender for the United States next February.