As previously noted, the NHL will announce its All-Star Game rosters tomorrow, with the team to be played Jan. 29 in Ottawa. Six goalies will be part of the group, and Boston’s Tim Thomas has already been voted in by fans, leaving five spots to be filled by the league. Will the Kings’ Jonathan Quick be part of the group? Among goalies with at least 20 games, Quick ranks first in shutouts (six), third in goals-against average (1.93) and fourth in save percentage (.934). Darryl Sutter has only spent three weeks with Quick, but Dustin Brown has seen the goalie evolve from minor-leaguer to potential All-Star, and after practice today, Brown talked about Quick’s career…
BROWN: “Two things that haven’t changed with Quicker is his work ethic and his, I don’t know how to put this, but he’s got a cockiness to him. He’s had it since the day he came up here, when he got called up from the East Coast league. He walked in here, not with a cockiness where you want to punch him in the face, but like, `I’m going to stop the puck, you guys do your job,’ that kind of cockiness. He chirps guys in practice. But from the standpoint of development, he has kind of grown as this team has grown over the last few years. I think he’s starting to be a lot more consistent in his game, especially this year. Everyone talks about how this team has changed so much, and I think the biggest difference is our goaltending. I’ve been here for eight years now, and we finally have had a solidified goalie, where there’s no question. And we’ve got two of them, actually, now. Prior to that, we had some good teams and we didn’t do well, because you need a good goalie. Quicker has been good since he’s been here. I think the biggest thing is his consistency. He’s starting to get more and more consistent, which is a scary thought.
“It’s more about an attitude. He’s got a presence about him. He’s not looking to get noticed. He comes in and goes about his business. He definitely wants to let you know if you haven’t scored on him (in practice) in a couple weeks. That’s about the only time I see him brag, is when he’s got someone’s number in practice. He’s a big reason why we’re at where we’re at this year. He has grown as this team has grown. Over the last couple years, if we don’t have him, I don’t know if we’re the same.’’
Sutter said Quick is “similar to a lot of the top goalies I’ve been fortunate to coach, in terms of his practice habits and his respect in the locker room, in terms of leadership.’’ That list would include goalies such as Ed Belfour, Miikka Kiprusoff, Evgeny Nabokov and Mike Vernon.
Question: It’s obviously not your choice to make, but is it fair to say that he deserves to be an All-Star?
SUTTER: “Well, after the fans pick their favorite players, then you’ve got to go by statistics, right? He’s been anywhere, in the four major categories — and the biggest one, by far the most important, being save percentage — he’s been anywhere from (number) six to one or two in the time that I’ve been here. If you base it on that, those few games, I would say yes.’’