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Kings Notebook (March 13)

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
The new proud papa Jonathan Quick is expected to return to the net on Sunday.

It was a Quick delivery, but certainly not a quick one.

Jonathan Quick got the call, in the early-morning hours Thursday, that his wife was going into labor with the couple's first child. Quick booked the earliest possible flight from Dallas to Los Angeles, but it turned out that Quick had plenty of time.

Not until 4:15 a.m. Friday did Madison Mychal Quick -- Jonathan and Jaclyn's first child -- make her appearance, so the new father was there to experience the birth.

"(The labor) was long. Really long," Quick said with a laugh Saturday. "I wasn't there for the first 13 hours of it. It was about 36 hours or so. By the time I got there, she already wanted (the baby) out. But it was good that she had something to look forward to, going into it, like me coming home. They knew at the time that it was going really slowly, so they knew it was going to be a long one. I'm just glad I was able to make it back for it."

Mother and daughter were doing well enough that Quick was able to return to practice Saturday, after missing Friday's shootout victory over Dallas. Coach Terry Murray said Quick will start when the Kings host Nashville on Sunday afternoon.

Jonathan Bernier played a strong game in Quick's absence -- Bernier made 29 saves and was perfect in the shootout as the Kings beat Dallas -- and accompanied the team back to Los Angeles to ensure that things were OK with the Quick family.

Murray said he was confident that Quick would be able to play at a high level.

"We had a meeting," Murray said. "Most of us have gone through the same scenario, so we can identify with it. But he's fine. His wife and child are still in the hospital, so he got home last night at a good hour and had a real good night's rest. He's getting food, and there's lots of support with families on the team here, for anything that he needs. He's organized and ready to get going."

Quick, who has started 60 of the Kings' 67 games this season, said he wanted to play.

If anything, getting back on the ice might help Quick feel a little more normal. He recounted for reporters, with laughs, his struggles to support Jaclyn in the delivery room.

"You try to give her support, and you don't want to say the wrong thing," Quick said. "You're just trying to give support and say the right things. You want to give her some feeling of relief, but no matter what you say, it doesn't make a difference. It's still not a fun process. But it's exciting. We're both very excited and very happy.

"I'm trying to hold her hand, and she's squeezing my hand and I think she broke my finger. You try to say stuff. You tell her she looks beautiful and she looks at you like...after 36 hours of labor, it's not what she wants to hear. She knows what's up. She knows you're just feeding her (B.S). But it was an exciting time, and we're both very happy."

ON THE OUTSIDE

Friday was a big day for Quick, and an exciting one for Bernier, but it wasn't so great for Erik Ersberg, who has been the Kings' backup goalie all season.

Bernier was called up from the AHL to replace Quick on an emergency basis, and Murray chose to start Bernier instead of Ersberg, who has made six starts this season.

Murray said that he had reached "an understanding" with Ersberg as to why the situation was made. Ersberg was asked, Saturday, if he found that explanation to be satisfactory.

"Well, he [Murray] explained his view, and I have my view, obviously," Ersberg said. "That's pretty much all I can say. I don't want to say anything that I'm going to regret or that is going to upset anybody, so I'll leave it at that."

Bernier made Murray's decision look good, though, and the coach had strong praise for the 21-year-old goalie, who went 6-for-6 in the shootout before Jarret Stoll scored.

"When you look at the game last night," Murray said, "what impresses you is that it's his first time to play this year, coming in the night before and all of the stuff surrounding that, and he settles in and plays very well. Emotionally, he was very consistent in his game. I really liked his handling of the puck, playing the puck, no rebounds, absorbed everything. He just had a superb game."

WILLIAMS RETURN
Justin Williams played 12 minutes, 11 seconds, on Friday in his first game back since he suffered a broken leg during the Kings' Dec. 26 game at Phoenix.

Williams returned to the Kings' top line, alongside Anze Kopitar and Ryan Smyth, and had one shot on goal and an even rating, but did not participate in special-teams play.

After the game, Murray said he was happy with Williams' effort, and Williams said he was satisfied with his initial effort.

"I told Kopi a couple times, 'Just give me the puck a little bit,' so I could hang onto it and feel what it was like and wheel around with it," Williams said "I tried to get into it right away, hold the puck and shoot as many pucks as I could at the net and really just get involved, get hit and make a hit. I was able to do that, and every period I felt more and more comfortable."
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