Also features a video interview with Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.
EL SEGUNDO, CA — With the Los Angeles Kings mired in a five-game losing streak, one would think that the team would not be too upbeat during practice. Nevertheless, the atmosphere was light and high-spirited at their practice facility in El Segundo, California on January 3.
Perhaps the reasons for the smiles and laughs was that star goaltender Jonathan Quick is very close to returning to action after suffering a grade 2 groin strain, a partial tear, on November 12, in Buffalo.
“I’m feeling good,” said Quick. “I think the next step is getting some game action. I think that would be the next step, so it’s up to the coaches and trainers to see when they want me to take that next step.”
“There’s no pain,” added Quick. “It’s good. I think this past week—the trip was really good for me, practicing with the team. I got a lot of work in. It was a good trip.”
When asked if he felt like he was back to normal, Quick replied, “yep.”
The plan was for Quick to play a brief conditioning stint with the Kings’ primary minor league affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League, this past weekend, starting with their game on January 3, against the Binghamton Senators in Binghamton, New York. Quick would then have had the choice of playing tonight at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, or at Hershey on January 5. But winter storms that have wreaked havoc in the Midwest and Northeast over the past few days nixed that plan.
Instead, Quick returned to Los Angeles with the team, and he skated in a full practice on December 3, getting a lot of ice time on one end, while goaltenders Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones split time in goal on the other.
“It was kind of his call if he wanted to, and what games he wanted to play,” said Sutter. “Obviously, that didn’t happen, so now we just try and get him game ready by [having him practice with the Kings].”
Sutter indicated that there were no plans to have Quick join the Kings’ ECHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign, for his conditioning assignment. In fact, Sutter expressed reservations about the idea of a conditioning assignment for Quick.
“I wasn’t really crazy about [sending Quick to Manchester on a conditioning assignment] to be quite honest,” Sutter emphasized. “First off, he was going to fly all day Monday, which would’ve taken him out of the equation Tuesday, so you’re almost losing another week.”
“I’m iffy on sending that player,” Sutter added. “I think it still has to be their choice, clearly. It’s different if you’re not a top player, but I don’t know if you’re getting game ready when you’re an elite player by doing it. I think if you’re a guy that’s fighting for your spot, it’s different. That’s kind of as far as I’ve gone, quite honest.”
Late on December 3, the Los Angeles Times reported that Quick will participate in the morning skate prior to their game on December 4 against the Vancouver Canucks (7:00 PM PST, Staples Center), and if there are no problems, he could be activated off of injured reserve.
If Quick is activated, the Kings must make a corresponding roster move to clear a spot for him. Much to the chagrin of many, goaltender Martin Jones would be assigned to the Monarchs, as he is on an emergency recall and is exempt from waivers.
Video Interview With Jonathan Quick via FrozenRoyaltyNHL on YouTube
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