EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Kings goalie coach Bill Ranford recalls marveling at the athleticism and swagger Jonathan Quick had when he was a collegiate star at the University of Massachusetts.
"He was the show," Ranford, an ex-NHL goalie, told NHL.com. "He was the superstar there, the big man on campus, and he could do whatever he wanted. His game was all athletic."
If Quick tried to be that type of goalie at the NHL level, Ranford said he never would have survived, never would have made it, because there would have been too many holes and far too many rebounds leading to second-chance opportunities.
"And you know how that works in the NHL," Ranford said. "They start to go in."
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So Ranford and goalie development coach Kim Dillabaugh went to work with Quick to teach him the fundamentals of the position. They began by simplifying his game so he was more about positioning then athleticism.
"It's kind of the pot calling the kettle black myself, but I learned as I went along that you have to utilize (athleticism) as a tool, not your toolbox," Ranford said. "That is the best analogy for him. He needed to get more tools to create a toolbox, and then this athletic ability that he has, he could utilize it when needed as opposed to using it on every save."
Ranford added that Quick was an excellent student willing to change, learn and grow.
"He worked at it," Ranford said. "He's a real student of the game and he worked hard at it. He had an innate ability to work on something in the morning and take it to the game that night. I could never do that. He was a very, very raw goalie, and it was just bringing his game together."
Quick, an early candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy with his 8-1 record, 1.55 goals-against average and .949 save percentage, is still learning from Ranford and Dillabaugh.
"I think they do a good job of not sticking their nose in too much, but giving me enough to chew on," Quick told NHL.com. "It's a tough balance being the coach trying not to overteach, and they do a great job with not only me, but all the other goalies. We're all doing well. They do a really good job."
Ranford isn't surprised at all that Quick turned into one of the game's elite netminders this season.
"He's probably worked harder at it in the last two years than he did in the previous three," Ranford said. "I think that's from a maturing process. Early on your career it's a lot of adrenaline, you're playing and reacting to things. Now he's realizing he can simplify his game to make it easier on him. It's just been a process for him."
"That's why he started in the East Coast Hockey League," Kings general manager Dean Lombardi told NHL.com. "He had to go back to square one."