By David Kalan
Forgive Jonathan Quick
After getting ousted by the Canucks in the opening round of the 2010 playoffs and enduring a tough first-round exit this season at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, he isn't terribly keen on seeing either team play for the Stanley Cup.
"Personally," Quick said, "you don't want to see either one of them win."
Unfortunately, for Quick, one of them will, and with four regular-season games against Vancouver this season in addition to the Kings' playoff encounter with them a year ago, as well as the 12 regular-season and playoff games L.A. played against San Jose this season, he is about as familiar with the last two teams standing in the West as any player can be.
|Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick blocks a shot during the first period of Game 6. |
(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
But as someone who makes his bread in the net, Quick has a particularly strong eye on the two goalies in the Western Conference Finals, Vancouver's Roberto Luongo and San Jose's Antti Niemi. Both have solid resumes -- Luongo as a perennial Vezina contender, while Niemi won last year's Stanley Cup.
"I'm going to go with Niemi because he won it last year. He has the experience of winning a Stanley Cup," Quick said. "Luongo's a great goalie. He's up for the Vezina, he's one of the best goalies in the League year in and year out, but you've got to kind of go with the guy who has that experience of winning the Stanley Cup. He's been there before."
Quick is a big believer in Niemi, who struggled at points this season but has looked very strong after a seven-game series win against Detroit.
"I think the way he played against Detroit compared to the way he played against us, you see his game is on an incline," Quick said. "He won a few of those games for the Sharks against a strong Detroit team that has a lot of guys that can score."
That doesn't necessarily mean Quick thinks the Sharks will take the series, however. He stopped short of picking a team he definitively saw winning the Western Conference because it simply was too close to call.
Just because he can't pick, however, doesn't mean Quick doesn't want to know what happens, and as a fan, he's eagerly awaiting a winner just like everybody else, even if he'd rather not see either team advance.
"I'll be tuned in," he said. "I'll be watching."