Los Angeles Kings star goaltender Jonathan Quick wasn't standing too far away Saturday morning from the office of David Poile, the man doing double duty as general manager of the Nashville Predators and Team USA's general manager.
Team USA will be officially announced Wednesday and things would have to go seriously off the rails for Quick not to be in Sochi, Russia, for the Olympics. Quick suffered a Grade 2 strained groin in November and is moving closer to returning.
Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said before Christmas he thought Quick would be ready to come back at some point during the first week of January.
"Lately, there's been discussions with Dean," Quick said of Poile. "I spoke with David the last time we were here. I haven't spoken with him since the injury. But I've talked to Dean in regards to that (Olympic) situation."
Almost on cue, Poile appeared in the hallway by the visitors' dressing room to talk with Quick. They had a brief conversation and then went back to their respective jobs -- Quick, working on getting healthy and back in the lineup, and Poile, working on turning the Predators' fortunes around.
This was the first trip Quick has taken with the Kings since he suffered the groin injury in overtime at Buffalo on Nov. 12. There were three goalies on the ice that morning in Nashville -- Quick, rookie Martin Jones and Ben Scrivens, who was in goal for the Kings' 3-2 loss to the Predators on Saturday night.
Recent developments pushed Quick's recovery process into a new phase.
"Now you get on the ice with the guys and they're playing and everyone approaches practice like a game," Quick said. "They're trying to create scoring chances and scoring goals.
"You kind of get sucked into it. It's a competitive environment and you put yourself in positions that you wouldn't when you were just doing it by yourself, right? All good signs so far."
Apprehension about certain movements has lessened, but Quick has consistently acknowledged he still has plenty of work in the days ahead. He said he has not been feeling the pain as much.
The other issue is reining in his natural competitive side.
"At times, I think our coaching staff and training staff did a good job of beating it into me not to rush it," Quick said, looking amused. "Not to try to do too much too soon. At times, maybe it may not seem like I'm listening to them. But you are and it does get through to you."
Additionally, the return to the familiarity of a hockey routine has been comforting. That includes just being around his teammates, going out to dinner and playing cards on the plane.
"Things you are used to doing and then you don't do it for a month and a half," Quick said, "you don't realize that you miss it. That's part of being part of the team. It's good to get back and do things like that."
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