LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 06: Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings reacts to a goal by Dustin Brown #23 for a 3-1 lead during the last minute of the third period in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on May 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Hitchcock: Quick is the “same as Hasek and Belfour”


The Los Angeles Kings completely obliterated the St. Louis Blues in this series. Not only did they eliminate them in just four games, but the Blues only held the lead in their second round series for a mere 7:42 minutes.

One player cannot single-handily provide a team with that level of domination, but if you’re looking for the MVP of this series – and the Kings’ season to date – it’s Jonathan Quick.

“He’s same as Hasek and Belfour, never quits on a puck,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “It’s a very unique skill, hard to find.”

Quick has provided the Kings with superior goaltending for years and he’s certainly been clicking in the playoffs. The St. Louis Blues are, like the Kings, better known for their defensive abilities, but still have a number of offensive weapons at their disposal. That never seemed to phased Quick.

He’ll face a similar set of circumstances in the Western Conference Finals. The Nashville Predators and Phoenix Coyotes are both defensively gifted squads and the next series promises to be another goaltending duel. We’ll see if either of those squads has what it takes to stop the red hot Kings and Quick.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.