Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Quick-ly Turning Heads in L.A.

For the first time in the 45 year history of the L.A. Kings, they have won Lord Stanley's cup.  A city dominated by filmmakers and the Lakers alike, but for one night hockey reigned supreme.  This Kings team did something even "The Great One" could not do in L.A., and they were led by their young goaltender, Jonathan Quick.

Jonathan Quick, who has only been in the NHL for 4 seasons, has quickly rose up the ladder of brilliant goal tenders.  This year was by far his best season in the NHL.  He led the league with 10 shutouts over the regular season.  His 1.95 goals against average was only second in the league.  Finally, he had a .929% save percentage that ranked fifth in the league this year.

You might wonder how a goalie, someone that does not score goals could be the most important player on his team.  Think about this, your goalie is out there for the entire game, other players are out there taking 1 to 2 minute shifts and then skating off.  On average, forwards and centers only play 20 to 25 minutes in a game, and defense-men 25 to 30 minutes.  So, at best some of your other favorite players might only be on the ice for 30% to 50% of the game.  The goalie might be the most important position in all of sports.

Jonathan Quick, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy for MVP of the playoffs was definitely the most important player for the Kings.  He was not only playing a high level in the regular season but he seemed to step it up in the playoffs.  He led the league in the playoffs with a 1.41 goals against average, that was down .5 from the regular season.  He also led the league with a . 946% save percentage which was also an improvement.  Combine his 16 wins with 3 more shut-outs and you have a bullet proof resume for a Conn Smythe winner.

Not only was this an important win for the LA Kings and Jonathan Quick, this was a great win for hockey in California.  The sport is rapidly growing in the So. Cal. area, and this will only help more people become aware of the game.  Quick is only the 3rd American to win the Conn Smythe, this win for LA could pave the way for more kids from America and from California to get interested in hockey.  In fact, it was only a couple of years ago, when the NHL finally had someone drafted in the first round from California.

This is definitely a big win for hockey in LA.  Its not something that will over-take the Lakers in a single day or a single year.  It will remind a non-traditional hockey city of how it once came together, sort of like when America came together when the US National Team beat the Russian.  Casual fans will be able to look back and feel like they were a part of history.  They witness the first Stanley Cup in L.A., and how quickly their heads were turned.