Last Tuesday, it was announced that Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick underwent successful surgery on his wrist and would need the next 10 to 12 weeks to recuperate. While it is certainly great news that Quick's surgery was a success and that by the time he fully recovers, training camp will just be starting, it begs the question of why the 2012 Conn Smythe winner had to have wrist surgery in the first place.
On Tuesday, Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy reported that Jonathan Quick had suffered a wrist injury during his team's second-round series against the Anaheim Ducks. This was at least an entire month before the netminder hoisted his second Stanley Cup but somehow, Quick made it work.
According to Kings captain Dustin Brown, Jonathan Quick's "injury in 2012 was much more severe," referring to the backstop's herniated disc, which he had repaired that summer with back surgery. For a goaltender, a wrist injury may seem secondary to a back affliction but it was a significant injury nonetheless.
It was evident to many that Jonathan Quick wasn't as dominant in the 2014 playoffs than he had been during the 2012 postseason but No. 32 was nonetheless solid when he had to be, especially when the Kings won both the Western Final and the Stanley Cup in overtime. He certainly wasn't in the running for the Conn Smythe like he had been two years earlier but the fact that Jonathan Quick had played two-and-a-half rounds of playoff hockey with a bad wrist adds to the goaltender's growing legend.
He may not have won any personal hardware for his regular-season work but Jonathan Quick won the one trophy every child dreams of winning on the frozen pond behind their house or in their driveway or in the street - twice. To boot, Quick guided the Los Angeles Kings to both championships despite playing through injuries. As prestigious as it would be to win the Vezina, more goaltenders have won that award than winning hockey's Holiest prize injured. To many hockey pundits, Jonathan Quick's career is not complete without the former, but he proves to be the best of the best with the latter.
Pundits can easily say that they don't follow Jonathan Quick because he plays on the west coast, yet after a mere two games this past postseason, these same people were glowing over John Gibson, a rookie netminder who plays in Anaheim, just 30 minutes down the road from Los Angeles's Staples Center. Since I don't mean 30 minutes via rocket ship, that means that Anaheim is also on the west coast.
I had been professing about how great it would be for Jonathan Quick to be given the attention he deserves.
How the east-coast media can glow over Kobe Bryant or Blake Griffin, Yasiel Puig or Mike Trout or, worse, Ryan Getzlaf or Corey Perry and not throw Jonathan Quick a bone is not a bias towards one coast over another. That is, in my mind, a much-too-convenient out. Whatever the reason may be, chances are that it doesn't bother Quick one iota. After all, he has accomplished quite a bit despite the lack of attention.
Has he been the same dominant goaltender since 2012? Maybe not. But even so, Jonathan Quick has proven that he can be stellar when he absolutely has to be. If that wasn't the case, the Rangers would have forced a sixth game back in Manhattan. Heck, we would have been talking about a Stanley Cup Final between the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks had it not been for Quick's clutch play.
After carrying his offensively-anemic team into the playoffs in 2012, Jonathan Quick went on to have a historical postseason that won him, in addition to a Stanley Cup, the aforementioned Conn Smythe trophy - all with a back in dire need of an operating table. While not as dominant, Quick was great coming off back surgery and only got better with each passing game. Never mind that back surgery could debilitate a goaltender's career but having just signed a 10-year contract that summer, Jonathan Quick could have easily taken the money and ran - but he didn't. Far from it, actually.
Jonathan Quick is a throwback to that little boy who spends the cold winters in his backyard aspiring to be the next great player and who stops at nothing to not only get there but to stay there.
In a league of guaranteed contracts, it is maddening to see some of the best players in the game take consecutive nights off or wait until the final year of their contracts to bust their humps, only to drive up their value to other teams and not to benefit their current squads. Jonathan Quick does not fit that bill. Game-in and game-out, the 28-year-old plays as if he were suiting up for the final time. In essence, to say that Jonathan Quick is a breath of fresh air would be the leading candidate for the understatement of the year.
Leading his team into the playoffs with next-to-no offensive support, winning the Cup with a bad back and then a bad wrist. What's in store next for the Legend of Jonathan Quick remains to be seen, but just thinking about it leaves everyone in Los Angeles with a severe case of goosebumps.