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Morning Skate: Will Quick Set Another Team Record?

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Quick is on pace to set a new games mark for Kings goaltenders.
In goalie Jonathan Quick, the Kings' coaching staff has a blessing and, perhaps, a bit of a concern.


Quick is arguably the most competitive player on a team, a guy who would probably start all 82 games if allowed. That competitiveness, and desire to win, is a huge positive.

At the same time, Quick has never before played more than 60 games in a college or professional season. Will Quick's desire to play all the time catch up with him at some point? Does the coaching staff have to monitor Quick's play over the next few weeks?

After Thursday's morning skate, coach Terry Murray said he remains confident in Quick.

"I'm not worried about fatigue at all," Murray said. "I don't keep an eye on the number of games he's playing, compared to what he's done in the past. I just play him, and he has played very well. He has earned the right to play. It's not like I'm throwing him in there without regard to performance. I think his level of play has been outstanding throughout the year, but I will keep an eye -- in front of us here -- on these next couple of trips, and back to back games."

Quick is expected to start in goal tonight when the Kings host Chicago at STAPLES Center, which will be Quick's 62nd appearance in the Kings' 69th game.

Felix Potvin, with 71 games in 2001-02, holds the Kings' single-season record for goalies. That, incidentally, is also the last season in which the Kings made the playoffs. (Click here for Kings Single-Season Goalie Stats)

Barring injury, or a severe dip in play, Quick is almost certain to set a new record. If Quick starts 11 of the Kings' final 14 games, he will appear in 72 games. The Kings have three sets of back-to-back games remaining, including one next week.

"There's going to be some very late nights, I know, there," Murray said, "and I'm going to have to monitor that and make sure that (Erik) Ersberg is on top of his game, so that if there's an opportunity there for him, he will go in and get the job done."

SLOW STARTS
One negative trend for the Kings, in a season of many positives, has been their tendency to start slow in the first period. In Sunday's loss to Nashville, the Predators scored their first goal before the Kings recorded their first shot on goal.

Coaches and players have often spoken of the need to bring intensity to the game from the first faceoff, but the trend has popped up several times throughout the season.

The question, this morning, to Murray was whether a coach sees things, in the first couple shifts of a game, that are indicators of a strong or weak start.

"If we're not passing the puck properly, hard, on the tape, mishandling pucks and turning them over in the middle of the ice, then that is the first read that I'll look for," Murray said. "You start having starts and stops, between the offensive blue line and your own goal line, and it's hard thing to stop sometimes. You have to address it immediately on the bench. It's sometimes tough to get everybody on the same page.

"So the importance of going out and getting it done right away is paramount, and certainly tonight against Chicago. That's a great transition team. I know they have a couple of guys, important players, that might not be in the lineup, but they're a great transition team, so we really have to make sure we're doing the right thing there."

HURTING `HAWKS
The Blackhawks, already without injured defenseman Brian Campbell (broken collarbone), might also be without defenseman Brent Seabrook, who had to leave Wednesday's game in the second period after a bit hit by Anaheim's James Wisniewski.

As of early Thursday afternoon, the NHL had not ruled on a possible suspension for Wisniewski, who hit Seabrook in the head. As he has several times this season, in similar instances, Murray had a negative reaction to the hit.

"There's an intent to injure," Murray said. "You've got a defenseman pinching from the offensive blue line, to below the goal line, to hit another defenseman who doesn't even have the puck, and never did have it -- I think it went off his leg -- and leaving his feet. There's a lot of pressure, right now, to make the right calls. It doesn't necessarily have to fall on the shoulders of the officiating crew on the ice. As we know, with the reviews, there has to be a message that's going to be sent to the players in the game.

"The players, themselves, have a responsibility to start talking about this, discussing in their PA [players' association] and bring attention to this. Everybody says we play the hard game and the heavy game, and there's lots of hitting, and that's accurate. You don't want to take that out of it, but when you start putting malicious intent in your play, it's too costly. We lose good players as a result of it."

TONIGHT'S LINEUP
As expected, the Kings will go with a fourth line of Jarret Stoll centering Raitis Ivanans and Rich Clune, leaving Jeff Halpern and Scott Parse as the healthy scratches. No other lineup changes are expected from the Kings tonight.
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