Bernier’s Deutschland digs
For a player that asked for a trade back in July, he’s found a situation that fits the transition he was seeking in that request.
Albeit, he’s still with the Kings — contractually. But, he’s finding what he truly wanted in inquiring for that trade.
Queue the playing time, and queue a starting role for Jonathan Bernier.
It’s the NHL lockout at it’s best. Kind of.
Bernier is doing things Deutschland style during the NHL lockout, agreeing to terms with Heilbronn Falken of the German Elite League‘s second division. For a player that struggled to find playing time while the NHL was functioning, this is an extremely validated move for both Bernier and the Kings.
Life can’t be easy being Jonathan Quick‘s backup, especially if you’re a highly-touted prospect such as Bernier, who was drafted by the Kings as the 11th overall selection in the 1st Round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver.
Bernier has found very little opportunity to prove himself in the NHL since being drafted by the Kings’ organization. The previous two seasons have seen Bernier tabbed as the Kings’ full-time backup goaltender, yet he’s only made a total of 41 appearances.
When it comes to labeling “easy” in the life of an NHL goaltender, less appearances certainly doesn’t fit the identity. For Bernier, he’s averaged an appearance in one out of every four regular season games the past two seasons, without a snippet of postseason action to boot. When you’re talking difficult, you’re talking shouldering expectations to play your absolute finest on a tumultuous and inconsistent schedule – which Bernier’s dealt with.
If there’s a position that demands consistent action to prove your worth in the NHL, that position would be a goaltender. Bernier’s time has been slender.
Signed, sealed, delivered
There are hefty shoes to fill for Jonathan Bernier in Germany, as both of Heilbronn Falken‘s goaltenders, Kevin Nastiuk and Dominec Bartels are down with injuries. To add to it, Bernier is joining the third place team in the compact 13-club division.
“We had to act quickly after the injuries to (goalies) Kevin Nastiuk and Domenic Bartels,” coach Rico Rossi told the Toronto Sun. “So the NHL lockout came at just the right time because it is not every day that you can attract such a star to Heilbronn.”
Bernier made his debut Friday night, but did so in losing fashion to the Fischtown Penguins, losing 4-2. Only three goals were allowed by Bernier, but an empty-net tally was added by Fischtown with just :33 seconds remaining in the contest.
The next start for Jonathan Bernier in a Heilbronn Falken uniform is slated for Wednesday against the Ravenburg Tower Stars. A good game it should be, Ravenburg is riding Heilbronn’s tail, sitting just one point in the standings behind Bernier’s new club.
And if it isn’t rust Bernier exposed on Friday, maybe he can shake off those first-game jitters come Wednesday.
Bernie playing it cool
We’ll be seein’ you
Until then, Bern, baby, Bern.