Quick reaction: Is Jonathan a lock for the U.S. in net?
Jonathan Quick was in slacks, dress shoes and a team USA jersey in 2010 when the United States men’s hockey team was awarded silver medals. Technically, Quick won silver at the 2010 Games and was a third string goaltender for the United States.
But there was no chance of him seeing any ice time, especially with Ryan Miller stopping everything that came his way. But a lot’s changed since then for Quick, and with the Olympics right around the corner, those changes continue.
Quick, the 27-year-old goaltender for the Los Angeles Kings, has been an absolute rock star since the 2010 Games, becoming arguably the best goalie in the NHL and winning a Stanley Cup just two years after he was an alternate in Vancouver. He let in only 1.95 goals per game during the Kings’ 2012 Stanley Cup-winning season.
It’s assumed Quick will start in net in Sochi, and the U.S. is one of the few teams that seemingly have their goalie situation already decided for them. Seemingly is the key word there.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Jonathan Quick leads LA to Western Conference Finals
Quick certainly appears to be the number one choice, but a poor first half of the NHL season would make the decision much murkier for the U.S. brass. With Jimmy Howard, who attended orientation camp for the United States, looming on the bench, it’s possible that Quick doesn’t end up being the starter.
“You know, just being at the Olympic orientation, being able to meet new guys and see your old friends that you played with before, it was a great experience,” Howard said.
Howard, the 29-year-old goaltender for the Detroit Red Wings, had a solid season last year, only allowing 2.13 goals per game and saving 92.3% of shots.
Quick had a poor season, at least by his standards, last year. He let in 2.45 goals per game and saved 90.5% of shots sent his way. Both of those are far worse than his career averages. And with 13 goals allowed through five games this season, questions are beginning to pop up as to whether Quick can handle the load of carrying an Olympic team. An impressive first half of the season for Howard would only strengthen those whispers.
“Hopefully I make it tough on the advisory staff for the U.S. to leave me at home,” Howard said.
The United States absolutely needs a dominant goaltender, and the assumption since 2012 is that Jonathan Quick would be just that. Goaltending is always cited as a strength for the United States and an advantage they have over other countries.
It still could be if Quick is in his zone. He showed how dominant he can be when focused during the 2012 playoffs. He had 509 saves on the way to the Stanley Cup and saved an insane 94.6% of shots. Even with his occasional struggles last year, he still managed to lead the Kings to the Western Conference Finals.
If Quick is at his best, he’ll be the United States most valuable player. But as the Games approach and things heat up, it’s going to be on Jonathan Quick to prove he’s the goalie for the United States.
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