Jonathan Quick Gives Us One of the Greatest Moments in Kings History
Maybe it was the booze talking. Typically, a sober Jonathan Quick is about as boring a person as you’d find to listen to. He says what he thinks should be said. Nothing more. Often even less. And it couldn’t be more appropriate for what Jonathan Quick does on the ice.
Jonathan Quick wasn’t supposed to be the most important piece of a Kings championship team in 2012. Four years ago, he wasn’t even supposed to be the team’s starter. Jonathan Bernier, Quick’s now solidified back-up, was heralded as the starter of the future for the Kings back then. Jonathan Quick wasn’t on anyone’s radar at all.
He never seemed to want anything handed to him. Even when he earned the right to be considered the starter after a successful season in 2009-10, many still speculated that the former first round draft pick in Bernier would surpass him. So, Quick kept working harder than anyone else and asking for no credit, no entitlement. What happened? Quick produced an even better season the next year.
Perhaps he only has himself to blame for the position he was in for most of this year: carrying a team that was labeled a championship contender just a few months too soon. The team stumbled out of the gates in October, at times displaying able prowess to support the predictions of the optimists; but often arming its critics the next game with a sub-par effort.
But one constant persisted throughout: the play of the team’s fulcrum, Jonathan Quick.
What’s most interesting about Quick’s Vezina caliber effort this season was his predictable reaction to any compliment: a blank-faced gaze that more often accompanies an insult than praise.
Quick never seeks accolades and in fact, never seems very comfortable with any. He never seeks the limelight or to be held to any esteem greater than that of his team. If anyone can find me a post-game (winning) interview in which Quick fails to mention the play of his team I will provide that person with a pair of my season tickets next season.
Even on Monday night, on the league’s grandest stage, when being awarded the Conn Smythe trophy, Quick shied away from the spotlight. When all his teammates encouraged him to take a lap to show off what he had so unquestionably earned, he smiled, shook his head and set his award back down. He was anxious to move on to the team trophy.
He didn’t play MVP caliber hockey to win an individual award; he played for the team in front of him to win the Stanley Cup.
Which bring us to the rally that happened earlier today.
Today was the victory parade celebrating the Kings first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history. It was a momentous event that brought Kings fans of all walks of life together to celebrate what had eluded them for 45 years.
It all went as planned. Surely, mild-mannered Jonathan Quick would not alter that course:
At some point soon no Kings player will be allowed near an active microphone.
That said, no one has earned the right for an innocent, drunken, celebratory slur more than Jonathan Quick.
In this, his first public moment out of his introverted shell, Jonathan Quick finally has an unfiltered dialog with someone: 18,000 fans. Perhaps now we know why he seems to be so calculated before speaking, often abridging his responses to grunts and facial expressions. I wonder who he could have learned that from?
Even in this moment of pure sincerity, his motivation is consistent: I am no more worthy of praise than anyone in front of me. In fact, you are not praising them enough.
And who can argue with that? Quick only said what we were all thinking: Look at THIS. FUCKING. TEAM. They deserve our admiration. If the man who is their last line of defense proclaims as such, so be it.
Ironically, in his ultimate humility, Quick has risen above his peers as the star of this team, whether he likes it or not.
Because soon he’ll go back to where he started. He’ll practice as though he’s fighting for a starting job. He’ll bail out his teammates’ mistakes. He’ll play by far the most consistent hockey of anyone on his team.
And still, he will praise their efforts and downplay his own.
Look at these, fucking, guys.
Your slight of hand isn’t fooling me, MVP.
UPDATE: Here is how KCAL aired the Quick speech. They apparently cut to the live audio just in time. That’s what you get, local news.