I could give you a bunch of nonsense about how the William Jennings Trophy is what the Los Angeles Kings have been primarily striving for but that is exactly what it would be. To say that the Stanley Cup is the ultimate goal is simply stating the obvious, which would warrant plenty of sarcastic "No, really?" responses - and rightfully so. But the quest for hockey's Holy Grail begins next week and until then, we can afford to shift our attention elsewhere.
The William M. Jennings Trophy was first awarded following the 1981-82 season to the goaltender(s) on the team with the fewest goals against in the league. In its 32-year existence, the award has never been given to a member of the Los Angeles Kings. However, thanks to a Marek Zdlicky goal in New Jersey against the Boston Bruins on Sunday afternoon, that has changed as Jonathan Quick has become the first King ever to win the award.
Entering their regular-season finale, the Los Angeles Kings held a four-goal lead on the Bruins for the fewest goals against in the league. Unfortunately for the Kings, they allowed four goals, moving them into a tie with Boston who played their regular-season finale against the Devils the following day. But just one New Jersey goal was needed and the Jennings would be solely awarded to Jonathan Quick and the Kings.
At the 7:12 mark of the opening period, the Kings officially won the award thanks to a Marek Zdlicky wraparound attempt that beat Boston goaltender Chad Johnson.
In some cases, the Jennings is awarded to a goaltending tandem but league rules indicate that a netminder needs to play a minimum of 25 regular-season games. Since Martin Jones and former King Ben Scrivens played less than that, the sole recipient of this year's award is Jonathan Quick.
While this win certainly is an honour, I am sure Quick himself would be the first to admit that this is not the award he plays for. In fact, the entire team and their fanbase wouldn't hesitate to agree. With that said, this type of recognition certainly is rewarding. While the Los Angeles Kings and their fans certainly didn't lose much sleep knowing that Quick didn't win the Vezina Trophy in 2012 or Drew Doughty the Norris Trophy in 2010, it would have been somewhat gratifying to see either, if not both, win their respective awards.
Unlike the Stanley Cup, there shouldn't be any bragging rights that come with winning an individual award. Instead, winning one should frankly be a testament to what an individual means to the league and, most importantly, his team.
Do Jonathan Quick or any of the Kings need an award like this to feel validated? Absolutely not. But there still is a great deal of satisfaction that comes with being recognized in such a way.
I said last week and I will say it again: Both Martin Jones and Ben Scrivens should be recognized in the same way that Jonathan Quick is in winning this prestigious award, in spite of what league rules indicate.
Congratulations to Jonathan Quick on winning the 2013-14 William M. Jennings Trophy. Furthermore, congratulations to Jones, Scrivens, Los Angeles's stellar defensive unit and even their defensive forwards and coaching staff who helped make this win a reality.