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American Quick leads Kings' Stanley Cup run

06/07/2013, 1:15pm MDT
By Andrew Knoll

LOS ANGELES -- Through 10 road games in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick has won 10 games.

The breakout performance has some fans already thinking about another road test two years from now in Sochi, Russia, backstopping Team USA at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

“He’s all-world, right?” Kings teammate Willie Mitchell said. “He’s been doing it all year. We wouldn’t be in the position we’re in, just [getting] into the postseason, if it wasn’t for him playing so terrific for us on a consistent basis.”

The Kings not only made the postseason, they sit on the brink of the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Los Angeles holds a 3-1 series lead over the Devils going into Game 5 Saturday in New Jersey.

Much of the Kings’ success can be attributed to Quick. After the team sneaked into the playoffs as the eighth seed in the Western Conference, Quick has gone 15–3 with a .948 save percentage, 1.39 goals-against average and three shutouts. His performance has made the 26-year-old a favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs MVP.

Yet while some goalies ooze confidence that may border on arrogance, Quick has been a beacon of humility through his three and a half years in Los Angeles.

“I feel I’ve tried to give my team a chance to win every night,” he said. “From a goalie standpoint, that’s your job. You try to do your job every night. Hopefully, more times than not, you’re able to do that.”

Success has followed Quick, a Connecticut product who the Kings drafted out of UMass in the third round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. After six years of missing the playoffs, Los Angeles returned to the postseason in 2009-10, Quick’s first season as the team’s No. 1 goalie. The Kings have made the playoffs in each of the three seasons with Quick as the primary net-minder.

This season, his spectacular regular-season performance — 35-21-13, .929 save percentage and 1.95 GAA — was just enough to help the Kings squeak into the playoffs, where he has continued to be “the backbone of the team,” according to Kings captain and 2010 U.S. Olympian Dustin Brown.

Brown has praised Quick so frequently that lately even the most spectacular performances between the pipes get described as “Quickie being Quickie.”  Like so many great performers whose talent is surpassed only by their consistency, it can almost become routine watching Quick stand on his head in net.

“Shooting on him every day, you’re amazed at first at some of the saves he makes,” Kings center Mike Richards said. “You see it on TV now, but after seeing so many of these saves it’s tough to be amazed anymore.”

The Sabre’s Ryan Miller, Team USA’s goalie at the Vancouver Games and the standard-bearer for American goalies, captured the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goaltender in 2010. This year, Quick is one of three finalists, and his teammates all support his candidacy unequivocally.

“He’s out here in the West. If he’s in New York where everyone’s thinking (the Rangers’ Henrik) Lundqvist is going to win the Vezina or whatever, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Quickie’s would win it,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. “We lost so many games by one goal, we won so many games by one goal, and that was all due to his hard work and how well he was playing.”

Much as his childhood favorite Mike Richter did for Quick, Quick and Miller are paving the way for the next generation of American goalies.

Jack Campbell, a former USA Hockey National Team Development Program goalie selected No. 11 by the Dallas Stars in the 2010 draft, should be a full-time AHLer for the Stars next year as he continues his tempered development. John Gibson, an Anaheim Ducks prospect and NTDP alum, had a stellar season as an OHL rookie. His performance with Kitchener went well beyond expectations despite personnel turnover, injuries and other obstacles the Rangers faced this season.

For Quick, his body and mind have both developed brilliantly over the past three seasons.

“Jon’s gotten himself into better and better shape,” said former Conn Smythe-winning goalie and Kings executive Ron Hextall. “He’s got a really strong lower body, from his core down he’s really strong. He’s got outstanding push in his legs, which allows him to stay low, move and still be able to track pucks.”

Praised as a leader in the dressing room and the Kings’ most valuable player on the ice, Quick has come a long way from being a long-shot draft selection.

“He’s matured as a player, he’s also matured as a person. They kind of go side by side there,” Hextall said. “A bad goal or a bad game doesn’t bother him. He doesn’t let little things bother him.

”That’s something along the lines of Marty Brodeur, where you’re competitive but you don’t let things bother you.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Three ways to beat burnout

11/28/2016, 9:45pm MST
By Dave Pond

According to NHL metrics, the average hockey shift lasts somewhere between 45 and 55 seconds. There’s inherent beauty and fluidity to line changes, as skaters come on and off the ice, looking to recharge after going full throttle for their teams.

Meanwhile, your NHL officiating peers are giving their all, too – regularly logging 4-5 miles a game. Those totals are even greater at your level, where you and your colleagues officiate multiple games a day, several times per week, on a seemingly never-ending calendar.

And, although we want to perform our best every game, everyone has both good days and bad – players and officials alike. To learn more about keeping burnout at bay, we went to the experts: longtime amateur hockey scheduler Larry Carrington and former NHL official Mark Faucette.

“There is so much more to officiating than meets the eye,” said Faucette, a 17-year NHL veteran. “It may look easy from the stands, but to maintain total control of a game along with the stress, slumps, supervisors, travel, and fitness regimen takes a very special kind of person.”

Get in shape (and stay there)
We all think we’re in “pretty good” shape, but the reality is, officials must be top athletes and in great condition – even at the youngest levels.

“Conditioning is very important—the deeper into the season, the more important it is,” Carrington said. “Burnout happens physically, mentally, and emotionally. An official who is in good condition will experience less physical burnout, and that will in turn help with the emotional and mental burnout.”

Faucette stresses following a workout routine that maxes yourself at least every other day. Neither player or official should plan to use games as a vehicle toward better physical fitness.

“Where we used to go to camp to get into shape, officials today are on summer conditioning regimens and are tested as soon as they come to camp,” he said. “Taking care of your body is a total focus for the good official.

“The players are so much stronger and faster now, so it’s imperative the officials keep the same pace.”

Find balance
No, not balance on your skates (that’s a given). Rather, make sure to keep the big picture in mind, to work a manageable schedule that includes everything that’s important to you – family, friends, and time away from the rink.

Although it makes Carrington’s job as an assignor more difficult, he said it pays off in the long run.

“I encourage officials to take at least one weekend off to get away from hockey,” he said. “I certainly don't want to lose their services for a week, but the invigoration that it usually provides makes them a much more valuable asset over the course of the season.”

That’s huge in an industry where both mental and physical fatigue are commonplace.

“Every official runs into slumps, just as players do,” Faucette said. “You spend numerous hours alone as an official, and when things are not going good, where everything is negative, it can cause you duress.

“Positive thoughts and self-evaluations speed up recovery,” he continued. “So, instead of telling yourself, ‘I wonder what bad thing will happen tonight?’ say ‘I’m ready for anything – bring it on!’”

Have fun
It’s No. 3 here, but should be No. 1 on your to-do list.

“I realize the officials are all trying hard, and mistakes are part of any sport by any participant,” said Faucette, who currently serves as supervisor of officials for USA Hockey, the NAHL director of player safety and the SPHL director of officiating. “That being said, the joy I get out of seeing a young official start out at ground level and making the big time one day is immeasurable.”

For most of you reading this, the “big time” might not be the end goal (and that’s OK). But wherever you are, there’s experience you’ve gained, as well as that to come – which both point back to why you first got involved in this great sport.

As an assignor, Carrington tries to get out of the office as much as he can and intentionally varies the schedules of his officials to help keep things fresh. He also encourages his more senior officials to lend a hand to those who aren’t as long in the tooth.

“Going to the rink and helping officials help themselves get better can be very invigorating,” he said. “Even a very good, very experienced official will often find it fun and relaxing to mentor some new official at a lower-level game where the stress levels aren’t nearly as high.”

But no matter where you officiate, Carrington emphasizes keeping one thing in mind: the love of the sport and those playing it today.

“If you’re not having fun, you shouldn’t be out there.”

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Bill Belisle has coached for the past 42 seasons

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Tag(s): NHL