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Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick makes a save against the San Jose Sharks during the third period in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals in the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, Tuesday, May 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)
Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick makes a save against the San Jose Sharks during the third period in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals in the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, Tuesday, May 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

Western Conference final

Duhatschek: Kings lean on Quick once more Add to ...

Even if the public can’t see it, his teammates insist Quick has a fun side. During last year’s playoff run, defenceman Drew Doughty described Quick as “not like most goalies. Most goalies are kinda weird. They aren’t like most hockey players; I guess you could say you kinda stay away from them. But you can talk to him about anything; you can approach him about anything at any time. He’s awesome.”

But in the spotlight, Quick is all professional – on the ice, in the way he plays the game; and off the ice, in the way he is so deliberately bland he deflects all attention away from him. In the last round, the Sharks did whatever they could to get Quick off his game by creating traffic and contact around the crease. San Jose forward T.J. Galiardi suggested Quick embellishes like nobody else in the game.

On one memorable play, Logan Couture took the legs out from under the L.A. goalie. Seconds later, Quick’s response was to toss the puck up into Couture’s face. Another time, Quick charged after the referees, unhappy about a series of penalties the Kings received at the end of the game that permitted the Sharks to win Game 4. The league spoke to the Kings about Quick’s actions, but let him off with a warning.

Kings defenceman Robyn Regehr has played in front of two Vézina Trophy winners previously in his career, Miikka Kiprusoff (2006, Calgary Flames) and Miller (2010, Sabres). Regehr believes there are many similarities between Quick and Kiprusoff.

“They are not the biggest guys by any means, but their quickness and their athletic ability to get anywhere in the net is really amazing to see, even as a defenceman out there who sees it on a daily basis,” Regehr says. “There are times when you’re on the bench and he makes a save and you say, ‘Wow, that’s unbelievable.’

“So there’s that and there’s also their competitiveness, but it comes out in different ways. Miikka was more subdued and quiet. It wasn’t as overt as Jonathan, who has a little bit more of a fiery side that comes out. You saw it when he got scored on in the San Jose series – and he was mad at the officiating. Inside, it’s still the same drive and competitiveness. It’s just shown a little different ways.”

Thirteen goaltenders have won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable performer since the award was introduced in 1965, and three of them are currently employed by the Kings – Quick (2012), Ranford (1990) and assistant general manager Ron Hextall (1987, Philadelphia Flyers).

As a player, Hextall was notorious for his competitiveness and his temper, which frequently got the best of him.

Quick is like that, too – he never gives up on any pucks, makes saves from difficult angles by getting himself in the right position and sometimes, will shatter his goal stick against the post if things don’t go his, or his team’s, way.

But Ranford – who played in Hextall’s era – believes Quick is not quite in the former’s class in terms of letting his emotions boil over.

“He’s definitely an emotional guy, but you don’t see it carry over, even within a game at times –and that’s a positive thing,” Ranford says. “His most heated moments are usually a game-winning goal, and the result of it, and he’s upset about something. You love that spirit about him, but he learned a valuable lesson in the last series – that you gotta to be careful with the referees.”

After the win over San Jose, Quick was asked what was the key to victory. He said: “Instead of losing 2-1, we won 2-1.”

That’s the sort of answer that keeps a lot of his responses out of newspapers and websites. Later, when asked if he was in a zone, where he could do no wrong, Quick replied: “I wouldn’t say that. We’re playing great in our own end as a team. I’m being able to see a lot of pucks, and when I can control them, it really cuts down on the quality of their opportunities. That’s a great team. We’re very fortunate to get four wins against them.”

So as always, Quick lets his play – and his teammates – do the talking for him.

“We get spoiled,” Greene says, “because we get to see him, day-in and day-out, doing all these special things. But the way he’s playing right now? It’s out of this world.”

@eduhatschek

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