|Sean O’Donnell (photo by C. Ikiri)
Long time followers of MayorsManor – especially those who’ve listened to any of my radio interviews – know that when talking about Jonathan Quick, I often make mention of a passing comment Sean O’Donnell made to me in Las Vegas in the fall of 2009.
For proper context, it’s important to understand that the season before that conversation took place, Quick had split time between Manchester (AHL) and Los Angeles. And the year prior to that, he was in the ECHL. So, with only 47 games of big league experience, very little was still known about Quick.
Yet, O’Donnell told me that he saw big things in Quick’s future, including a Stanley Cup.
From talking to players over the years you develop the ability to cut through some of the rhetoric and fluff. Make no mistake about it, O’Donnell wasn’t pumping the tires of a teammate when he said it. In fact, he’s the one that brought up Quick. With such praise coming from a well respected veteran (one with over 1000 games played, a former team captain, Stanley Cup winner, etc.), I took note.
Then, as if O’Donnell knew the script, Quick went on to win 39 games that year – setting the Kings’ single-season franchise record in the process. He went on to top that with a stellar season last year and a Vezina Trophy worthy campaign is underway at the moment.
So, when I had a chance to catch up with O’Donnell over the weekend, I just had to know… What did he see in Quick way back then?
“I think instinct,” O’Donnell began. “It was something that, early on he technically didn’t seem to be – I don’t want to say ‘in the right spot’ – but, he scrambles, he’s very quick, he never gives up on a puck. He seems to know where the puck is going before it goes there. And that’s just something you can’t teach. He has some natural athletic ability. So, I just felt like if you look at what he does – along with Jonathan Bernier – I thought (the Kings) were set in goal for a long time. Quick has certainly held up his end of the bargain.”
These days, O’Donnell is nearing the end of his career. But, he still hasn’t given up the dream of finishing on a high note.
“The reality is, I’ve played in the league a long time. As much as my brain thinks that I can play 18-20 minutes every night, I can’t do it,” he said.
In the off-season, he signed with the Chicago Blackhawks and it’s been a good fit so far.
“I knew coming in that it was going to be more of a supporting role. I think I’m a good guy in the locker room. I think I’m a good guy with the young guys. And I think I’m a good guy that can fill in when you’re key guys are injured or maybe struggling a little bit, they can spot me in here and there.”
O’Donnell went on to share his opinions about Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. The three played together for the Flyers last season. Thus, he was able to provide some additional perspective on what went down in Philadelphia and if the Kings locker room is in trouble with Carter in it. To see what he had to say, click here.
As for O’Donnell, he’s always been a good guy.
Not just in the room or with the rookies.
Good guy, period.
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