While I tend to scoff at most hockey rankings, I do acquire a great sense of pleasure, nay vindication, when I see that either the Los Angeles Kings as a whole or one of their players or coaches nears the top of a certain list. Those feelings are emphasized further when the team or one of its players sits right at the top of such a list. In this case, that honor belongs to Los Angeles netminder Jonathan Quick.
This past Friday, Yahoo! Expert Sam McCaig made his list of the top 30 starting goaltenders in the NHL with each team having one representative. While such a task was easy for most clubs, McCaig had to teeter with a few teams such as the St. Louis Blues who the columnist had a choice between Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak. For those keeping score, McCaig chose Elliott who placed 19th.
Going up and down the list, I was very interested by what I saw. While I already killed the suspense by stating that Quick finished first on the list, other notable names stood out by where they finished.
Chicago’s Corey Crawford, who is fresh off leading his team to their second Stanley Cup title in four years, came in 11th while Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, who Quick is slated to be in a heated competition for the number-one spot in the US goal at next February’s Olympics, came in 16th.
As for other netminders vying to wear the stars and stripes in Sochi, Ottawa’s Craig Anderson came closest to Quick in 12th while New Jersey’s newest addition Cory Schneider came in 13th. To round out the Americans, Detroit’s Jimmy Howard came in 17th while Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop found himself scraping the bottom at 29th
In his explanation of Quick topping the list, columnist Sam McCaig was concise: “It’s always a debate, but the Kings goalie has been the NHL’s best puckstopper over the past few seasons.”
If anything, McCaig should have considered mentioned Quick’s Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe wins in addition to his razor-thin goals-against average during the 2012 playoffs only after guiding the second-worst offense into the playoffs. Such a suggestion isn’t merely noted for positive reassurance but to suture into the heads of all those Eastern-based “experts” who resort to the syphilitic excuse of going to bed before the Kings drop the puck.
Sergei Bobrovsky, whose maiden season in Columbus was so impressive that he won the Vezina as the league’s top netminder, finished fifth.
Rounding out the top three was Henrik Lundqvist and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne, both of whom have proven what valuable commodities they are to their respective clubs but have yet to live up to the level of one Jonathan Quick – not that I’m biased or anything.
To read the article, click here: The Top 30 Starting Goalies in the NHL
Like most of these lists, I don’t use them to get my hopes up (or down) for the coming season. Having said that, it is certainly gratifying to see Jonathan Quick getting the recognition he deserves. As happy as I am to see this, a part of me is disappointed as I have always found myself to root for not so much the underdogs but the Rodney Dangerfields – those who don’t get the respect they deserve for those of you too young to get the reference.
Now that Quick’s been selected atop a list like these, that Rodney Dangerfield label has faded a little. But like the label, my disappointment has already waned as the big picture here is that this article is direct proof that Jonathan Quick is getting the recognition he deserves.
While I don’t expect every hockey analyst to suddenly turn their heads and give Quick his just due, I do admit that this is certainly a start. After all, if Jonathan Quick – or any of the Kings for that matter – gets more positive recognition, the better Kings fans will feel about their boys. If this is the high watermark, so to speak, for Quick in terms of verification, then that only results in more ammunition for Kings fans, more of a chip on their collective shoulder, thus a return to the Rodney Dangerfield complex, if you will.
If you ask me – and you probably will – it’s a win-win situation with Jonathan Quick because regardless of what accolades the 27-year-old backstop receives, if any, there will always be a downside which will be next to impossible for any Kings fan to find.