The Los Angeles Kings lost more than their opener Wednesday night, as it appears goaltender Jonathan Quick suffered a potentially long-term injury during the first period.
Losing the opening game of the season was no doubt a downer for the Los Angeles Kings, but being without goaltender Jonathan Quick for the foreseeable future was one of the worst possible outcomes from Wednesday’s season opener.
Quick fell injured during the first frame of the Kings’ 2-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks, and the injury occurred with almost no major signs that anything was wrong. Late in the first period, Quick was moving across his crease to block an attempt from Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, and after making a pad stop, Quick seemed to come up lame. He remained crouched in his crease after the play longer than expected, while still pushing around to make saves as the Sharks attacked.
Once the second period began, Quick was nowhere to be found and backup Jeff Zatkoff was manning the Kings’ net. News came shortly thereafter that Quick would not return to the game due to a lower-body injury, and Kings GM Dean Lombardi told LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen that it “could be a while” before Quick is able to return to action. According to Rosen, Quick will undergo an MRI on Thursday where further determination will be made about the seriousness of the injury.
Quick, 30, has only had to deal with one serious injury during the course of his NHL career, and that was a groin injury during the 2013-14 campaign. That ailment caused him to miss 24 games and saw him on the shelf from the middle of November 2013 until early January 2014. In the long run, that didn’t hurt the Kings much, as they went on to win the Stanley Cup.
That said, there’s some definite concern about Quick’s health. However, Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said postgame that he wasn’t worried about the situation in goal and was fast to downplay what the injury could mean to the Kings, as only he could.
“It’s not that big a deal,” Sutter said, according to Rosen. “We’ve got two or three goalies. Good ones.”
If Quick is out longterm — and that seems like it will be the case — the most likely scenario is that he continues to be replaced by Zatkoff, who the Kings chose as their backup, with Peter Budaj coming up from the AHL’s Ontario Reign to fill the backup role. Neither goaltender has performed anywhere to the level of Quick in the past several seasons, but Zatkoff, 29, has better numbers over his 36 games of action than Budaj, 34, has in 297 outings.
Zatkoff, who was signed as a free agent in the off-season, has a .915 save percentage, 2.64 goals-against average and one shutout during his brief NHL tenure, as well as 200 games of AHL experience. Meanwhile, Budaj has posted a .903 SP, 2.76 GAA and 11 shutouts across his nearly 300 NHL outings, paired with another 212 games of work in the AHL.
“I think that always makes it a little easier to kind of give you that time to mentally get ready to go in,” Zatkoff said of filling in for Quick on Wednesday, according to Rosen. “I’ve played a thousand games. Once you’re in there, it’s all the same. Everything comes natural. You’ve just got to stay out of your own way mentally and just get in there and play.”
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