Kings put goaltender Jonathan Quick on injured reserve
The Kings’ best-laid plans — the blueprint to their season, in fact — didn’t even make it through the season-opening game without significant disruption.
Their All-Star goaltender, Jonathan Quick, was injured near the end of the first period of Wednesday’s opening-night loss at San Jose. On Thursday, the two-time Vezina Trophy finalist — given to the NHL’s top goalie — was placed on injured reserve with what the team described as a “lower-body injury” and his status is being called week-to-week.
Though the official news was lacking in specifics, this goes well beyond an ordinary setback for the Kings. The most serious in-season injury previously sustained by Quick came in the 2013-14 season, when he suffered a Grade 2 groin strain at Buffalo and missed nearly two months.
It is not clear how this particular injury compares. One Kings executive said that additional consultations with the doctors are still to come regarding a plan for rehabilitation.
When Quick was out for nearly two months, the Kings went 14-7-3 without him, sparked by backups Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones. Jones was the opposing goalie Wednesday as the Sharks’ starter. Kings Coach Darryl Sutter noted that this team and the 2013-14 group were “quite a different team.”
“Jonathan’s a special player,” Sutter said. “So you just don’t replace that. It’s no different than any other star player out of your lineup. You don’t just replace or expect somebody to play the same way or do the same things.
“But we also know that we are quite capable at that position.”
Instead of Scrivens and Jones, the veteran duo of Jeff Zatkoff and Peter Budaj will be handling the assignment in Quick’s absence. The Kings recalled Budaj on Thursday from their American Hockey League affiliate in Ontario (Calif.). The 34-year-old has played 297 career NHL games, including one win last season in place of an injured Quick. Budaj wasn’t on hand for Thursday’s practice, so Kings’ goaltending coach Bill Ranford was enlisted and put on the pads.
Zatkoff, signed as a free agent on July 1, was drafted by the Kings but had been with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization since the 2012-13 season. He played the second and third periods in relief of Quick Wednesday in San Jose, faced 16 shots and allowed one goal.
He was pressed into relief duty in the playoffs during the Penguins’ run to the Stanley Cup last season, appearing in two games.
This time, Zatkoff knew something was up after the first period when Quick told him to start stretching. For Quick to come out of a game is no small thing. “He’s a warrior,” Zatkoff said.
KINGS NEXT UP
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
On the air: TV: Fox Sports West; Radio: 790.
Update: The home opener of the Kings’ 50th anniversary season features an appropriate opponent, the Flyers. The Kings’ first regular-season NHL game was against the Flyers at Long Beach Arena on Oct. 14, 1967. Pregame ceremonies will honor about 20 returning former members from the first Kings’ franchise.
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