Although it may have looked strange, goaltender Jonathan Quick suited up in his golden armor for the first time last night.
Quick was on the bench backing up Adin Hill looking surprisingly comfortable in another Pacific Division’s team hat and jersey. The lifetime LA King is now a member of the team he lost to in the 2018 playoffs and is prepared to make a run with his new team in 2023.
I’m looking forward to this opportunity. I’m coming into a locker room where I’ve played with seven or eight of these guys. The comfort level is there right away. I’m just looking forward to helping this team, win some hockey games. I don’t want to give sound bites. I am excited for this opportunity. It’s a great organization, it’s a great group of guys that I’m looking forward to working with them. I’m looking forward to helping them win this division and make a big run in the playoffs. –Jonathan Quick on ESPN’s The Point
Not only was the trade from LA to Columbus to Las Vegas a shock to the 37-year-old netminder but to many across the league. Kings’ leaders Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar expressed a range of emotions to the media after their backstop and dear friend was replaced with Joonas Korpisalo.
The last two days affected us a lot. It was really sad and unexpected. It sucks seeing one of your best friends of your life leave. I expected to play with him for the rest of my career. It’s hockey, it’s business and sometimes things happen that you’re not going to like. -Drew Doughty, LAK defenseman
Captain Anze Kopitar echoed Doughty’s comments.
It’s a very hard day. It was unexpected and sad. I was thinking that Quickie was a King for life, and we’d be playing with him for the rest our careers, Bottom line is we have to deal with and look to the road ahead. -Anze Kopitar, LAK center
Even former Kings player and TV analyst Jim Fox had a hard time describing the scene after the deal was announced to the team.
— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) March 3, 2023
Fox choked up on air while illustrating an emotional moment he shared with Quick after he became aware of the trade with Columbus.
Most times we don’t talk about what happens on the plane, but I think it’s appropriate because of what happened. It was extremely emotional. You talk about draining. It just sucked everything out of me. I had a chance to talk to him. I had a chance to give him a big hug. Thank you and Jonathan, you’re the best. -Jim Fox
Shock was the word of choice for many around the hockey world including Quick’s former Kings coach. Current Calgary Flames coach Darryl Sutter stepped out of character by praising his two-time Stanley Cup-winning goaltender. It takes a special player to earn that type of admiration from Sutter.
He was one of the leaders. That’s the guy who played a pile of playoff games and played hurt. He had major surgeries after a couple of them and still came back. He’s a warrior. He’s one of those old-style guys. He’s a great leader in the room, great work ethic, great personality. Dominant competitor. He wanted to be better than the other goalie. His whole thing will be he wants to show somebody. I guarantee that. –Darryl Sutter, Flames coach
Sutter mentioned how competitive and motivated an athlete Quick is. One of the goalie’s closest buddies wouldn’t be thrilled if they were to line up against the Golden Knights in the playoffs. Quick’s warrior mode might turn on in a seven-game series.
It would be tough if we had to play against him, I’m not going to lie. At the same time, we’re going out there trying to win a game. I’m a little scared of the fire he’s probably going to have in his belly if we do play him. -Doughty
When asked how he feels about potentially facing the Kings in the playoffs, VGK’s #32 responded in true veteran fashion.
We don’t need to get into that. We have Jersey tonight. -Quick
Spoken like a lifelong Golden Knight.