Why missing the playoffs is just what Jonathan Quick needed

Years of deep post-season runs before last season gave Jonathan Quick’s body little time to recover. Missing the playoffs meant more training time than ever and peak physical condition for the Kings goalie, who resided in New York this off-season for more hands-on work with trainer Ben Prentiss.

Ben Prentiss hates using cliches, and he isn’t one to actively pump the tires of his clients. As the off-season strength and conditioning coach for some of the biggest names in the NHL, he’s a no-B.S., all-business trainer. Which is why it’s hard for him to talk about Jonathan Quick. For the first time in four years, Prentiss had a full off-season to train him properly after Quick became his client in 2011, and he’s really happy with the results. “He’s in the best shape of his life, he honestly is,” Prentiss said in the off-season. “I just hate to say it, because that’s what every trainer says about his guys at the end of the summer. But he really is…He’s as light as he’s been, he’s as lean as he’s been, he’s super explosive and really strong.”

In Quick’s first summer with Prentiss, the partnership paid immediate dividends, as the Los Angeles Kings went on to win the franchise’s first championship in 2012. But success and injury conspired to limit their training time together in subsequent summers. After winning his first Cup, Quick had back surgery in August 2012, and it took much longer to heal than expected. Then came the lockout. Quick got in only a month of training with Prentiss, and he wasn’t medically cleared to play until the lockout was over. Still, in the shortened 2012-13 season, L.A. made it to the Western final. It didn’t end until June 8, however, so Quick couldn’t hit the gym until July, which left only two months to train. Despite that, the Kings went on to win their second Cup in 2013-14. Of course, that forced Quick and Prentiss into another severely compressed training schedule, further compromised by Quick having off-season wrist surgery. “We trained everything one arm,” Prentiss said. “There’s a bilateral deficiency that the brain recognizes, so even though you train one arm, there’s still research that’s been shown that you can still increase strength neutrally on the other side. Not a lot, but even the smallest amount helps. I think he had (a cast) on for the first five weeks that we trained. I think he was cast-less for maybe only four weeks.”
Quick2 Since that first summer with Prentiss and then winning his first Stanley Cup, Quick hasn’t quite been himself. After tearing up the NHL in 2011-12, Quick has put up rather ordinary numbers, at least by his standards. He did post a 1.86 goals-against average and .934 save percentage in the 2013 playoffs, but that’s been his lone stretch of excellence over the past three seasons. Because the Kings missed the playoffs last season, Quick was able to start training in May. He was working out with Prentiss four or five times a week throughout the summer, as well as seeing a soft-tissue massage therapist twice a week and a stretch therapist once a week. By the end of July, around the time Prentiss’ clients begin the on-ice component of their training, Quick had already gone through 54 off-ice workouts, a huge increase from previous off-seasons. Quick, originally from Milford, Conn., stayed in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village this summer, which isn’t far from Prentiss’ training facility in Darien, Conn. Unlike most players – who get customized programs, fly home to do their training and then check-in with Prentiss throughout the summer – Quick had daily hands-on personal training from Prentiss. Even though Quick spent his off-season on the East Coast, the Kings kept tabs on him throughout the summer. Matt Price, L.A.’s strength and conditioning coach, was in regular contact with Prentiss, getting updates on the team’s star goalie. “Ben and I agreed on virtually every bullet point when it comes to Jonathan’s training,” Price said this past summer. “When you have some cohesiveness between the philosophies, and you have a guy like Ben who has experience and expertise on the ground helping Jonathan, I expect a great product coming back into Los Angeles.” And that’s exactly what L.A. got back. According to Prentiss, Quick met or surpassed every metric set out for him by the Kings at the beginning of the summer – from weight and body fat to strength and power. “Ben focused in on some of the things that Jonathan needed to get done, and we had the luxury of time,” Price said. “Jonathan was given the framework with which to work, and he and Ben got the job done.”  

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