Terry Murray: Jonathan Quick is my number one goalie this year

GYI0060272819-jonathanquick-stephendunn-getty.jpgThe fun part of training camp each year is that sometimes there’s going to be goalie controversy. You go into camp having a couple of players that are about equal and then try to judge what’s best for your team based around those couple of weeks of action. One such team that was poised for potential drama was the Los Angeles Kings. With 39-game winner Jonathan Quick the incumbent starter after a tremendous season, he was due to be challenged hard by prospect netminder Jonathan Bernier who dazzled Kings fans with his play in relief at the end of last season.

Kings head coach Terry Murray, however, wants absolutely nothing to do with any potential confidence-jarring drama and put all concerns to rest right away over who his man is in goal.

“In net, it’s going to be an interesting battle. Quick is our No. 1 guy, and we’ve got Bernier and Ersberg who are going to compete very hard for the No. 2 position. Clearly the organization is not going to carry three goaltenders, so as we get through the scrimmages and into the games, they will be watched very closely by everybody in the organization.

“There’s no gray area there. Jonathan Quick is our No. 1 goaltender. He’s going to play a lot of hockey this year. I just felt, as I mentioned at the end of the season last year, that maybe he got extended a little bit last year, playing 70-plus games. If I can get his numbers to a max of 60, say, or in the high 50s, and have our No. 2 goaltender getting into the rotation on a pretty regular basis. It’s very hard to play after a couple weeks of not playing. If I can get one game a week out of the second goaltender, I think it would be a nice rhythm to get ourselves into.”

Having Bernier almost ready to be a full-time NHL goalie waiting in the wings is a huge luxury for the Kings. After all, if Quick stumbles this year, Bernier will be right there either in the backup role or in AHL Manchester waiting for the call. The guy who’s in a bit of an awkward position is Erik Ersberg.

Ersberg was Quick’s caddy last year and didn’t get much of a chance to provide relief given Quick played in 72 regular season games last year. Ersberg did just about as well as he could in his 11 games, posting similar numbers to what Quick did in a vastly reduced role.

In his three starts with the Kings, Jonathan Bernier went 3-0-0 and allowed just four goals in his three starts, including a 34-save shutout against the Predators. Having a cup-of-coffee debut like that sure makes it tough for fans to forget you, especially when Quick appeared to be out of gas at the end of the season and the playoffs.

(Photo: Stephen Dunn – Getty Images)

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    Health woes continue in Boston as Backes undergoes elbow procedure

    BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 20:  David Backes #42 of the Boston Bruins skates against New Jersey Devils during the third period at TD Garden on October 20, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Devils 2-1.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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    In last night’s 5-0 loss to the Wild, the banged-up B’s were without David Backes, Anton Khudobin, Tuukka Rask, Kevan Miller and Frank Vatrano.

    On its own, a bad injury situation.

    But today, things got even worse.

    GM Don Sweeney announced that Backes has undergone the remove of the olecranon bursa from his elbow, and that Backes’ condition will be updated after this weekend.

    (It’s surgery to correct elbow bursitis, basically.)

    That would mean, presumably, the veteran winger is out until after the weekend — meaning Backes will miss games tonight against the Rangers, and Saturday against the Red Wings.

    It’s a fairly significant blow.

    Backes looked good in his first few games in a Bruins uniform, posting two goals and four points in five games while averaging a healthy 18:45 TOI per night.

    As mentioned, the B’s are back in action tonight on Rivalry Night at MSG (8 p.m., NBCSN).

    NHL officials in South Korea to inspect Olympic venues

    PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - JULY 07:  South Koreans celebrate being selected as 2018 Winter Olympic host city at Alpensia Resort on July 7, 2011 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Pyeongchang finally won the Winter Olympic host race after being beaten by Vancouver for 2010 and Sochi for 2014.  (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
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    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) National Hockey League representatives are in South Korea to inspect Olympic facilities as the league mulls a decision on whether to let its players appear for a sixth consecutive Olympics in Pyeongchang.

    Pyeongchang’s organizing committee said the NHL delegation, led by vice president of international strategy Lynn White and facilities operation manager Dan Craig, will make inspections on Thursday and Friday of facilities in Gangneung, a city near Pyeongchang which will host the ice hockey tournament during the 2018 Winter Games. They will be joined by NHL Players’ Association officials Sandra Monteiro and Mathieu Schneider and the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Hannes Ederer and Christian Hofstetter, the organizing committee said.

    Pyeongchang organizers consider securing the participation of NHL players as a critical issue as ice hockey is one of the most popular sports at the Winter Games. The International Olympic Committee’s negotiations with the NHL over having the league’s players competing in Pyeongchang have stalled over the IOC’s decision not to pay for NHL players’ travel and insurance as it has in the past.

    NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly recently told The Associated Press he felt “negative” about the chances the league’s players will compete in Pyeongchang.

    Christophe Dubi, the IOC’s executive director of the Olympic Games, told reporters earlier this month that the NHL deciding to inspect the Gangneung facilities was a “very positive step,” but didn’t offer a firm answer on whether the IOC would consider allowing the NHL to skip the Pyeongchang Games before returning for Beijing in 2022.

    Related: Jan. 15 is deadline for Olympic decision, says IOC

    NHL on NBCSN: Bruins need a rookie goalie to step up against Rangers

    BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 25:  Malcolm Subban #70 of the Boston Bruins allows a goal against Minnesota Wild during the second period at TD Garden on October 25, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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    NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the New York Rangers host the Boston Bruins at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

    The Boston Bruins have been without starting goalie Tuukka Rask (lower body) for two games now and things haven’t gone well.

    When Rask is between the pipes, Boston is 3-0-0, but when he’s not, they’re 0-3-0.

    They dropped Saturday night’s game to the Montreal Canadiens with Anton Khudobin in goal and with him on the shelf too, the Bruins were dismantled 5-0 by the Minnesota Wild last night.

    The Bruins turned to former first rounder Malcolm Subban yesterday and he lasted a little more than 30 minutes before being pulled for Zane McIntyre.

    “There are some goals — I’m not going to lie — there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had,” head coach Claude Julien said after the loss to Minnesota, per CSN New England.

    But Julien wasn’t willing to pin it all on his rookie goalies.

    “[I’m] not here to talk about a goaltender — who’s in one of his first few games — because he let in a couple of bad goals,” added Julien. “We were terrible in front of him . . .  and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.”

    Still, Subban has made two starts in his NHL career and has been pulled both times. He’s allowed six goals on just 22 shots during his two brief stints in the league.

    It’ll be interesting to see which rookie Julien turns to tonight.

    For the first time this season, the Rangers have strung together back-to-back wins.

    They’re dealing with some injuries of their own, as Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich are both out for this one.

    Kreider, who has seven points in five games this season, will miss his second consecutive game because of a neck injury, while Buchnevich remains on IR with back pain.

    Unlike the Bruins, the Rangers have no question marks in their crease right now.

    Henrik Lundqvist will make his fourth consecutive start tonight. The 34-year-old has allowed two goals per game in each of his last three outings.  That doesn’t exactly bode well for a Bruins team that’s scored four goals in their last three contests.

    Don’t look now, but the Red Wings have won five straight

    DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 21: Gustav Nyquist #14 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates his third period goal with teammates while playing the Nashville Predators at Joe Louis Arena on October 21, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 5-3. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

    A 26th straight playoff appearance? It seemed, when this season began, that not many were giving the Detroit Red Wings much of a chance to accomplish the feat.

    Time will tell.

    Despite their doubters, the Red Wings have now won five straight games, following a pretty uninspiring start with back-to-back losses in Florida to begin the season.

    Their latest win came Tuesday, as the Red Wings beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2. (For Carolina, that wraps up a six-game road trip to begin the season.)

    Dylan Larkin, who had 23 goals as a rookie in 2015-16, finally got his first two goals of this season, scoring twice against the Hurricanes.

    So far, 11 players on their roster have scored, with Darren Helm leading the way. Nineteen of 20 players have also recorded at least a single point. As a team, they’ve been able to extend leads against the opposition over the course of this streak, which is a welcomed change for coach Jeff Blashill.

    “I said that to the coaching staff after the game,” he told the Detroit Free Press. “That’s the biggest difference – we score the fourth goal this year. So now you’ve got a two-goal cushion and if something goes the wrong way, you’re still fine.

    “It’s a huge difference.”

    A big help has been the play of their goalies — Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek.

    As per stats.hockeyanalysis.com, the Red Wings currently have the second best save percentage (95.95) at five-on-five through six games, not to mention the 10th best shooting percentage (9.86).

    Howard, who was part of trade speculation last season, has allowed only a single goal on 63 shots.

    So far, so good for the Red Wings.

    Not many seemed optimistic about this team as the season approached.

    Sure, the Red Wings had made 25 consecutive playoff appearances, but they also entered this season with an older Henrik Zetterberg, and the health of Niklas Kronwall (click here) and Jonathan Ericsson (click here) in question.

    They are also without Pavel Datsyuk, who returned to Russia. But the Red Wings tried to make up for that loss by signing Frans Nielsen.

    Pundits and prognosticators, including the overwhelming majority at PHT, said the Red Wings’ playoff streak would be snapped this season.

    A winning streak this early might not be enough to make doubters think twice.