LOS ANGELES — Hours after being named to represent the United States at the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia (February 6-23, 2014), Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick spoke to the media about the honor from St. Louis, where the team will skate against the St. Louis Blues on January 2.
In 2010, Quick was a member of the silver medal-winning Team USA in the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, but was the third goaltender and did not dress for any games.
“I was able to be part of the team in 2010, so you get an understanding, I suppose, of what it’s like to represent your country,” said Quick. “To be able to have that opportunity again is a great feeling.”
Quick, who continues his rehabilitation work after suffering a grade 2 groin strain (partial tear) on November 12, indicated that he is fortunate to have been named to the team.
“There’s a lot of people in USA Hockey who think enough of you to put you on this roster with great players, and there’s some great goalies who would’ve been great options for the team,” Quick noted. “For them to choose me, even while dealing with this injury and everything, really says a lot, and it means a lot, so you just try not to let anybody down.”
Quick also said that he knew he had been selected for the team days in advance of the public announcement made after the annual Winter Classic game on January 1.
“To be honest, I had a pretty good idea going into the day,” he said. “I spoke to [Kings President/General Manager] Dean Lombardi the other day, and he informed me about what was going to happen.”
“It kind of takes away a little bit from the emotions of the day, but for it to be announced, and your family finds out about it, and some friends from back home—they text you—it’s definitely a cool experience,” he added.
Even though he did not play in a game during the 2010 Olympics, Quick said he was able to learn from the experience.
“Just being part of it, and being there for the games, and seeing the intensity of the games—for anyone who was part of it in 2010, not only would it help them here in 2014, but it should help throughout their careers,” said Quick. “You know, regular season games, playoff games—seeing that kind of intensity with the win-or-go-home mentality. I certainly think it helped, not only me, but anyone who took part in that tournament.”
Unlike the National Hockey League playoffs, where teams must win four, seven-game playoff series in order to win the Stanley Cup, once teams reach the medal round in the Olympics, it’s a single-elimination tournament, seemingly, a very different kind of pressure.
But don’t try telling that to Quick.
“It’s pretty much the same,” he stressed. “You’ve got to win. If you lose, you lose. You don’t win. You’ve got to win hockey games. It’s the same concept as playing in whatever league you play in.”
“It’s the same,” he added. “You’ve got to win a game, or you lose a game. One or the other. It’s the same thing.”
Quick is expected to compete against at least a few Kings teammates during the Olympic tournament, and he talked about what it might be like to face defenseman Drew Doughty, who is a lock to represent Canada.
“That’ll be interesting, for sure,” said Quick. “We’ve played together for six years now—I don’t know how long [it’s been]. We’re great friends. Playing against each other will be extra special, just because we kind of grew up together in this league with the Kings.”
“It’s really cool, along with [winger Dustin Brown] playing on my side, and I know there will be a few others guys on [the Kings] roster who have a really great chance to play for their countries,” added Quick. “Hopefully, we can get as many guys as possible. It’ll be pretty special.”
Despite thoughts about the Olympics, Quick emphasized that he is focused on the here and now.
“[I’m] focused on the other aspects of the season,” he noted. “There’s a lot of work to do, still, before I can play for my team in Los Angeles, so that’s the focus right now.”
Speaking of that, if you read between the lines, it seems to be a sure thing that Quick will be headed to the Kings’ primary minor league affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League, for a short conditioning assignment.
When asked if he would be heading to Manchester, as if on cue, Quick was evasive.
“Have you guys heard anything from the coach or the GM? No? Then it’s still up in the air.”
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