The Vezina Trophy is an attractive piece of silver with an regal-looking wood base, but Jonathan Quick is more into kitchenware. In particular, he’s in the market for a bowl.
The NHL announced Wednesday morning that Quick, Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators are the finalists for the Vezina Trophy, awarded annually ``to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position,’’ per a vote of the league’s general managers.
The winner will be announced at the league’s awards ceremony in June 20 in Las Vegas. By then, Quick hopes to own a share of a different trophy: the Stanley Cup. Asked, after practice today, about being recognized as a Vezina finalist, Quick instead pointed toward the start of the Kings’ second-round playoff series against St. Louis. The series will begin on Monday.
``It’s a tremendous honor to be put in a category with Hank and Pekka,’’ Quick said. ``They’re two great goalies in this league, well-respected goalies. To be put in the same category as those two, it’s a tremendous honor. At the same time though, that’s not the trophy that I set out to win nine months ago, eight months ago, whatever. We still have a shot at the other one, and that’s what we’re working at right now.’’
Quick said Kings president and general manager Dean Lombardi informed him of his Vezina nomination Tuesday afternoon. Quick went back to work Wednesday morning, and took some good-natured razzing from teammates as he faced the media, post-practice, to talk about the nomination.
Quick grinned at his teammates’ catcalls and, true to his nature, Quick deflected the attention to them.
``It’s something that a lot of hard work goes into, and it’s a credit to the way these guys [teammates] played in front of me all year,’’ Quick said. ``Being a goaltender, it’s a position that you’re more dependent on your teammates than any other position in sports. For your goalie to be put in a category like that, it means that these guys are doing a tremendous job, which they’ve done for me all year.’’
Kings coach Darryl Sutter called Quick’s Vezina nomination ``awesome’’ and said he wasn’t surprised that Quick had a low-key reaction to the honor.
``I think that’s just his personality,’’ Sutter said. ``He’s sort of getting locked in on the task at hand. I’m sure when he gets his time alone, or time with family, or postseason, then he will take a different look at it.’’
START OF SERIES SET
The Kings and the St. Louis Blues will open their second-round series on Saturday at Scottrade Center, followed by Game 2 on Monday. The series will then shift to STAPLES Center for Game 3 on Thursday, May 3, and Game 4 on Sunday, May 6.
The Blues are the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference while the Blues are the No. 2 seed. Entering Wednesday, the road team had a 26-19 record in first-round games, but Sutter didn’t put much stock in that.
``As you go along, that's all (meaningless), to be quite honest,’’ Sutter said. ``I know from experience. The less travel you have, you want to be in your own building and you want to be in your own bed. That does have a big psychological difference for a player. It's very simple. I'd rather have players getting treated in our treatment centers, and not in a hotel and not on an airplane, and getting practice in your own building. We've talked about it enough. You want to play a deciding game in your building, always.''