Interim Kings coach Willie Desjardins said Thursday he spoke to Jonathan Quick about the goaltender’s harsh words following Desjardins’ decision not to challenge a goal in Carolina on Tuesday that Quick believed should have been disallowed for goaltender interference. Desjardins also acknowledged that he should have challenged it simply to demonstrate support for Quick, who has remained fiercely competitive during a dreadful season that will end with the Kings missing the playoffs.
The Kings will take a nine-game winless streak (0-6-3) into their game against Dallas on Thursday night at Staples Center. Quick was the first goalie off the ice after the team’s morning skate on Thursday at El Segundo and is expected to start against the Stars.
“You’re right. It’s not just the call itself,” Desjardins said after the morning skate. “It’s to show your players you’re behind them, and that’s something you have to weigh in when you make the call. You just have to weigh it in. But at that time we just didn’t feel we were going to get the call. We just weren’t going to get it …. Going back, yeah, I wish I would have made the call.”
Desjardins took over as interim coach in November. He is not expected to be hired as the team’s permanent coach.
“That stuff happens. If you ever have guys that really want to win, he’s just that type of guy,” Desjardins said of Quick, a core member of the Kings’ Stanley Cup championship teams in 2012 and 2014. “He’s such a heart-and-soul guy. He plays with a lot of emotion and that’s what makes him so good. Sometimes those things go wrong, and as a coach you can’t overreact because it’s just the heat of the moment.
“He obviously thought we should have challenged that. Obviously with what transpired I probably wish I would have challenged it, too. I just didn’t think we were going to get a call at the time and that’s why we made the call the way we did.”
Defenseman Alec Martinez (upper-body injury) practiced with the team but hasn’t been cleared for total contact, Desjardins said. He also said Martinez “is getting close” to returning. In addition, the Kings recalled forward Matt luff from Ontario (Calif.) of the American Hockey League.