- Craig Custance
Their head-to-head battles go way back. Back to when they were prep school stars in New England.
Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider remembers the first time he faced Jonathan Quick, and it didn't go particularly well. At the time, Schneider had no idea, but Avon Old Farms hockey coach John Gardner had spent the week working his team into a lather before the showdown.
Schneider was the goalie who couldn't be beat, Gardner told his guys. Schneider was the best goalie in New England. Avon Old Farms didn't stand a chance against Andover and its star goalie.
"They were frothing like dogs," Gardner said. "I knew Quick wanted to take his stick and hit me over the head with it."
"We lit him up pretty good," Gardner said.
Schneider moved on to star at Boston College, where the showdowns with Quick continued during Quick's two seasons at the University of Massachusetts.
"He always put a scare in you," Schneider said. "He was a guy who could steal a game for UMass."
But even then it wasn't apparent Quick would be a star in the NHL. He had great athleticism and was a third-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings, but his focus wasn't always there. His technique was lacking.
This spring, Schneider saw a different goalie in the opposing net when his Canucks faced Quick and the Kings in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Schneider was outstanding for Vancouver, playing in relief of Roberto Luongo, finishing the playoffs with a .960 save percentage and 1.31 goals-against average. He was so good that by the end of the series, it was evident that Luongo had lost his spot as the Canucks' starting goalie long term. Schneider's performance changed the course of an entire franchise in Vancouver.
It still wasn't enough to beat Quick.
Craig Custance looks back to Jonathan Quick's past to find out how he became the talented goaltender who led the Los Angeles Kings to the Stanley Cup finals.