Surly & Scribe’s L.A. Kings’ Season Preview: The Goalies

This is weird…it’s great, but it’s weird. On the subject of goaltenders, I am not nostalgic of the old days. Remember when we entered each season wondering just how much we were going to suck between the pipes? No more. This franchise’s greatest weakness has become its strength. Now, we have two young stars in the making and one impressive third in 6’4″ Martin Jones.

I don’t have any revelations to share with you about Jonathans Quick or Bernier. I want what you want and expect the same. Do what you did last season, but better and with more consistency. Steal some games when you have to, control the rebounds and keep them in front of you, good position stops most of the pucks, your talent (intelligence, coordination, agility and speed) takes care of the rest.

If Jonathan Quick can drop his GAA under 2.10 (he was 2.24 last season) and get that SV% up to .930 (from .918), this Kings’ fan will be smiling. As for Bernier, I want the same or similar numbers although they will likely come in less games. I don’t take much Terry Murray says before the season on face value (been there and seen everything is subject to change at a whim) but if he gives Quick more rest (read: around 50 games) and Bernier gets the remainder, we will have a fresh number 1 in the playoffs and a number 1a with enough games under his belt to seamlessly fill the void if the unexpected (injuries) arises.

Look, goaltenders hold a special place in my heart. I understand their quirky, obsessive, single-minded nature. I love their composed and controlled disposition and innate burning intensity. Bottom line is this – last season, I coined Quick & Bernier the two-headed dragon. This season, I expect them to earn the label.



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16 replies

  1. I’m not sure Quick needs to drop his gaa. I think we are expecting a .5 to 1 goal average bump in our own scoring so JQ won’t have to have as many “steals.” If we can just get the league to use their eyeballs when they judge whether a goal is good or not we’ll be just fine.

  2. I liked it better at Hockeyfest when a little boy (around 5 or 6) asked Quick, at the kids press conference, “are you going to play better this year???” The other three players on the panel just were cracking up.

    He is a great goalie and a super nice guy…..GO QUICK GO!!!

  3. … I called for a 1A/1B situation before last season. It should have been tried, but wasn’t, Quick, after playing extremely well early, wilted later on.

    Hopefully the team will do it right this season, but given who’s coaching them, I doubt it.

      • he did?

        … What would you call it?

        Quick, October to December – .924 save pct., 18-8-1
        Quick, December to April – .912 save pct., 19-18-2

        In October, Quick had a .936 save percentage. He never got near that number again.

        • Numbers don’t lie but there’s also an entire team playing in front of him so judging a goalie’s performance based solely on the numbers they post isn’t in the best interest of gaining a clear perspective. I didn’t see Quick slide a bit towards the end of last season and was quite impressed with the way he rebounded from the playoff losses, which could kill a lot of people’s drive and confidence.

          Simply put, it’s my humble opinion that if the boys play consistent hockey in front of him, Quick will play consistent hockey between the pipes.

        • Blow your stats out your ass, Dutch.

          Tim Thomas won the Vezina and the Conne Smythe. He had 6 shutouts in his first 23 games of the season — and only managed 5 more for the rest of the year.

          His GAA was less than 2.0 for a while, and everyone said he was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

          Then dat ol’ time reality settled in and he came down to earth. Did he “wilt”?

          (By the way, what were the game results when Quick faced off against Thomas?)

          • Blow your stats out your ass, Dutch.

            … Awww, does someone need a tissue? I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.

            Thomas had one poor month, and he had one month where he was off-the-charts incredible. Quick had one very good month and the rest were average to downright poor. It’s not the same thing at all, and Quick shouldn’t be compared to Thomas anyway.

            Numbers don’t lie but there’s also an entire team playing in front of him so judging a goalie’s performance based solely on the numbers they post isn’t in the best interest of gaining a clear perspective. I didn’t see Quick slide a bit towards the end of last season and was quite impressed with the way he rebounded from the playoff losses

            … So what you’re saying is numbers don’t lie, but they do.

            I’m not going off of a feeling here, “I didn’t see Quick slide” doesn’t cut it because I watched the games and saw it happen with my own eyes. The Kings slid in the second half of the season and Quick was just as responsible as anyone for that. That he rebounded from bad games is not a bad sign, but isn’t that to be expected? Would he be deserving of being a number one if he kept on having bad games?

          • Twust me. My widdo feewings can stand it.

            Numbers DO lie — and even when they speak the truth they can still mislead. Despite the FACT that Thomas had a wildly inconsistent season, whose first quarter was magnificent, he nose-dived during other stretches — yet he was still chosen the Pan-Hemispheric Asslick Champeen, winning trophies for goaltending artsy-fartyhood and for sparkling in the playoffs.

            This was the same guy whose own fans wanted desperately to unload last season in favor of Tuukka Rask. No doubt those fans cited statistics and muttered, “Numbers don’t lie” over their beers. Oh . . . and he was also the same guy who was criticized during these past playoffs — the same playoffs where he won the Conne Smythe — for giving up bad goals and for dangerously self-destructive stylistic eccentricities.

            Jonathan Quick is on his way to being a premier goaltender. Does he get beat? Who doesn’t? Does he occasionally make mistakes? Who doesn’t? Does he have a lot to learn? WHO THE FUCK DOESN’T?

            But there’s a reason why he’s our number one — and it’s not that we don’t have options to replace him.

            So once again I tell you: Blow your stats out your ass.

          • Despite the FACT that Thomas had a wildly inconsistent season, whose first quarter was magnificent, he nose-dived during other stretches

            … Yep, you’re right – who needs stats when there’s stuff like this that you just made up. But stats lie. Right on, man.

            And if you want to talk about inconsistency, Quick makes Thomas look like the model of consistent play by comparison.

            This was the same guy whose own fans wanted desperately to unload last season in favor of Tuukka Rask. No doubt those fans cited statistics

            … I’m sure there were fans who wanted Thomas unloaded. There are stupid fans in every team’s fanbase. That’s not a surprise.

            Thomas was coming off of a Vezina trophy and his stats were the best of any goalie in the NHL just a couple seasons prior to this past one. So, anyone who did cite statistics would have had no case behind any desire to see him traded away.

            Jonathan Quick is on his way to being a premier goaltender.

            … See? Let’s forego the actual results again and make up even more stuff while we’re at it. And let’s rationalize what we made up by saying “hey EVERY goalie gets beaten, amirite?” Well played.

          • “EVERY goalie gets beaten, amirite?”

            Yes. You ARE right.

            “Quick makes Thomas look like the model of consistent play by comparison”

            Your sarcasm is laced with truth. To go from Vezina-winner one season to how-do-we-get-rid-of-this-guy? the next is not exactly a testament to consistent play. Quick, on the other hand, has been steadily improving in each of his first three years with the Kings.

            “I’m sure there were fans who wanted Thomas unloaded . . . So, anyone who did cite statistics would have had no case behind any desire to see him traded away”

            Is that why Julien benched Thomas in favor of Rask during most of that season? Because he was relying upon the ignorance of the Bruins’ fans? His own observations had nothing to do with the decision?

            “But stats lie. Right on, man”

            Stats are no more than loose data. They have no meaning unless they’re properly interpreted. For many years those who kept hockey statistics paid no attention to save percentages at all. Corsi numbers are relatively new in hockey analysis.

            If stats were the ONLY basis for determining a player’s abilities Tim Thomas would never have gotten a starting job on the Bruins. He was already too old, too untrainable, too loose around the net, too this, too that . . .

            Stats are bull shit — I’ll repeat that so we can remain on the same page: STATS ARE BULLSHIT — unless they’re examined with a keen, experienced, eye.

            In comparing Quick with Thomas I might bring up the statistical facts that the Bruins’ offense was 8th in the league last year. Where were the Kings? I might mention that Quick never lost a shoot-out, while Bernier, it seemed, never won one — even getting the unique distinction of being the losing goaltender of a game where he shut out his opponents.

            If you’re really interested in MEANINGFUL statistics, let’s look at those shoot-out wins by Quick — take a moment to examine the team point totals at season’s end. If Quick had not been so steady and consistent and reliable in shoot-outs, the Kings would not have made the playoffs at all, much less in 7th place. Or were those shoot-out wins solely the result of Stoll’s hot stick?

            And didn’t Quick face Thomas in shoot-outs? What were the results — the “stats”, if you will — of those confrontations?

            “There are stupid fans in every team’s fanbase. That’s not a surprise”

            Yes.

  4. Surly and or Scribe,

    Work your magic and get DD in camp NOW!!!! I am sick of not knowing if he is going to come to camp or not.

  5. 1 thing I would look at, is the change in the Kings game and how it will effect the goalies play. The Kings will (at least I hope) play with a little more offensive push this season. As much as everybody would like to believe that you don’t have to sacrifice defense to get more offense, the truth is the goalies will see a different game because of it.

    More up ice pressure means if they break through the goalies will see outnumbered attacks, and breakaways a little more. The offensive chances totals might equal the same, but the chances will be different then what they were in the past.

    The Kings might cut the overall chances down well, but the chances that they give up might be glorious. If that’s the case, the GAA might look the same, but the results might mean something totally different in where we are getting scored on, and how.

    Quick can lose focus on spotted play, and let in the quick shot from a bad angle if he’s not seeing a lot of work in the zone. That means teams can score by coming down the wing and surprising him with a quick shot.

    Bernier can be beat with deak moves because he relies too much on positioning and not enough on reflexes to adjust. A player coming in on a break away, or a 2 on 1 can force him to commit early leaving wide open angles to shoot at.

    There will have to be adjustments I would imagine to both goalies games this season.

  6. Another great article

    I think that this is THE season where we will see what we have in nets and where we grow up as a team and as an org (again) with this group.

    The black arts are difficult to assess. As an old goalie friend of mine (had his neck cut in the NHL) has told me, “Goalies are fucking crazy, stay away from goalies. They are fucking crazy”. Great job trying to get a feel for which of our wraparound jacket boys are going to be the best.

    As a side story,

    It is two a.m. and I am 17, I wake up because I hear my hotel room door closing too quietly. I jump up grab my pants and shoes then bolt out the door. It is snowing like hell outside and all I can see is the image of a guy running fast away from me in the snowy night. He has no t shirt on so I think maybe he is a robber. I chase him now angry and I catch up with him quickly. I reach out and grab this guy by the hair (it was the 70′s) and pull him down we fall into the snow.

    Your dead asshole I say out of breath as I spin him around to find that he his my road room mate, our goalie and he snaps out of whatever was going on just before I am going to punch him in the face.

    I remember yelling out SHIT and “what the hell are you doing” then I stand up and help brush him off. I am think maybe he was chasing someone who tried to break into our room but he says “I guess I was dreaming. Lets get back to the room its too damned cold” so we run back to the motel and the room.

    Inside he tells me this “I was dreaming that there was this big giant shark after me so I started running from our hotel into the snow hoping I could hide from him in it”

    I still am friends with him today and every time we talk I ask him “seen any sharks lately?”

    My friend is right, goalies are fucking crazy, stay away from them goalies, they are fucking crazy.

  7. No offence to bobby.

    You have to be a little crazy to face the pucks game in and game out. The night twitches are what ruin most goalies career.

    Also consider the source.

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