The fan balloting results for this year’s All-Star Game are in and among the twenty goaltenders on the ballot, Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick is 11th. 11th? Are you kidding me? Not only has Jonathan Quick had a fantastic season thus far but he is far-and-away his team’s MVP through the first half of the regular season. Let’s face it: without Quick, the Kings would be up creek without a paddle. Yet, Quick just doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
It was just a few days ago when I thought Jonathan Quick was “gettin’ some love” from the NHL for being named one of the league’s stars of the week. Alas, I spoke too soon. Now, I know the balloting is done by the fans and not the league but we still have the same problem: Jonathan Quick is nothing but an afterthought.
All Jonathan Quick did this season was bail his team out on a nightly-basis. To this day, I cannot even begin to understand how he was so dominating up to this point but, nonetheless, he was. In October, Quick posted a franchise-record three-straight shutouts. What kind of attention did that get? Very little, of course. Years ago, when Brian Boucher posted three-straight shutouts for the Phoenix Coyotes, he got league-wide attention, even though Boucher’s career in the desert outside of that impressive streak was all but forgettable. A fitting last name can’t even get Jonathan Quick the attention he deserves.
Now, I’ll give credit where it’s due. Some of the goaltenders that are ahead of Quick on the list are very deserving to be all-stars. Netminders like Boston’s Tim Thomas, the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist and Detroit’s Jimmy Howard all deserve the right to play in Ottawa at the end of the month. But are seriously telling me that guys like Carey Price, Nikolai Khabibulin and Roberto Luongo deserve to be ahead of Quick?
Roberto Luongo? He, at one point this season, lost his starting job to Cory Schneider and has a .917 save-percentage, which is good enough for a 30th-place tie among goaltenders who’ve played this season. Not only that but, as we saw last spring, Luongo can openly criticize a better goaltender and not back it up. So, how this clown deserves to be an all-star is beyond me.
Good for Nikolai Khabibulin for having a rebound year but the Oilers have since returned to earth and their netminder isn’t playing much better as he holds an 11-11-3. Then there’s Montreal’s Carey Price, who isn’t worthy enough to carry Jonathan Quick’s jockstrap. He’s 14-14-7 with a .912 save-percentage. 912?! That’s awful – just like the Canadiens! At least he has two shutouts, which is only a third of Quick’s total.
Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury deserves a bone since the team’s missing their golden paycheque, Ilya Bryzgalov has gotten famous after his performance on HBO’s 24/7 and James Reimer, well, it’s a sentimental pick because, as we know, the Leafs haven’t had a good goaltender since Cat Stevens was a Christian. Who cares?! Are you seriously telling me that Jonathan Quick doesn’t deserve the same praise? A league-leading six shutouts, the Kings are one point out of the division lead at 20-14-7 despite having the worst goals-per-game average in the entire league and only twice in their last nineteen games have they score more than two regulation goals. Not even their sound defensive core of Doughty, Johnson and Scuderi can match what Quick has done.
If it’s a west-coast thing, then why doesn’t the NHL put the Los Angeles Kings into a new league? After all, whether you’re playing in Ottawa, Los Angeles or Timbuktu (they were asinine enough to put a team in Phoenix so don’t say it’ll never happen), as long as a team plays in the National Hockey League, they deserve as much attention and credibility as anyone else.
When the NHL’s best land in Ottawa on the weekend of January 29, I want to see Jonathan Quick there. He is the reason the Kings are contenders and he goes out there every night and does thing I didn’t even think were possible. As Rich Hammond of LAKingsInsider said, if Quick isn’t picked as an all-star, it’ll show just what a farce this process is.
Jonathan Quick may be the clear-cut favourite as the Los Angeles Kings’ MVP thus far but, with the way he’s played since Day 1, that is the least of what he deserves.
Photo: Courtesy of talkhockey.ca