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Behind Enemy Lines: Jonathan Quick on Max Pacioretty

The All-Star Kings goaltender dishes on his childhood friend

by Hugo Fontaine @CanadiensMTL /

Despite engaging in some heated battles on the ice, opposing NHL players often forge enduring friendships away from the rink. We thought it might be interesting, then, to do some reconnaissance in the visitors' dressing room to get an occasional take on a Canadiens player from a friendly foe on another club. Today: Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick on his summer training partner and childhood friend, Max Pacioretty.

You and Max are both from Connecticut and have trained together in the offseason in the past. Did you guys ever play against each other in minor hockey?
We played in the same organization for a while, but he's a couple years younger than me. We played against each other in high school and we've started working out in the summertime at the same gym. We also skate together in the summer, I would say moreso now since we turned pro.

How much has he changed since then?
I think for the most part, he's the same. He's the same, pretty even-keeled guy I've known for a while. 

He told us he didn't own a pair of jeans until he arrived on campus at the University of Michigan. True or false?
Of course, he grew up in the rich area. (laughs) No, I'm just joking. I can't remember that specifically, but it wouldn't surprise me that he had a closet full of khakis.

Do you guys keep in touch over the season?
We text here and there. We saw each other after our game last week and we'll probably have the chance to do it again Thursday.

You've played against each other in the NHL for a few years, but you've also had a chance to play together with Team USA on a few occasions. How cool was it to finally play on the same team?
It was awesome. We played hockey in the same organization growing up. As adults, we've been fortunate enough to play together in tournaments like that. Having a chance to play with someone you know from back then means a lot. It was really special.

How happy are you that you only have to face him twice a year?
Oh, I know. He shoots the puck hard - it's nice that I only have to feel it twice a year. (laughs)

In a 2015 Player's Tribune feature, you said that you thought that Max was the most underrated player in the NHL. Still stand by your words from a couple years ago?
Of course. He's very quiet about his business, but he's very effective at what he does. He knows what he's good at and he does it very well. For us goalies, we think about his shot. It's so heavy and it comes off his stick so fast. It's probably tough to notice it on TV, but when you watch him shoot and you're in net watching him come at you, it comes really fast. Add to it that he's captain, that he's playing in Montreal with all the attention on the team from the city, and I still think he's very underrated.

There's one shootout goal in particular we can think of where he came out on the winning end of the showdown against you…how much did you hear about that one?
(laughs) I'm sure he gave it to me. It wasn't the first time he's done that to me.

He's now the proud father of three baby boys: Lorenzo, Maximus, and James Carter. Are you a little disappointed that he didn't name one of them Jonathan?
(laughs) No, no. I wouldn't expect that at all.

If you guys switched positions, who would have the upper hand? 
For sure I would light him up as a forward if he was in net. I've got some pretty good hands and I shoot the puck pretty well. 

Is there something you could tell us about Max that no a lot of people would know?
Not really and that's what awesome about him. What you see is what you get. He's an honest, hardworking, easy-going guy.

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