Frozen Royalty: Jonathan Bernier Is Making Steady Progress
The Jonathan Bernier we all thought was going to be spectacular goalie had lost his game for a bit. However, recently, he’s looking like the prospect we all knew he would be. Gann Matsuda takes a good look at Bernier’s struggles and his fight back to being a good netminder. Check it out!
EL SEGUNDO, CA — After melting the ice in his crease last season with the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League (primary minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings), not to mention three brilliant games with the Kings in 2009-10, goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who is expected to get the start against the Washington Capitals on February 12 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., has struggled to find his groove in this, his rookie season in the National Hockey League.
To this point in the 2010-11 season, the 23-year-old native of Laval, Quebec has a 5-8-1 record, a 2.84 goals-against average, a .894 save percentage, and one shutout—definitely not numbers one wants to see from an NHL goaltender, especially one who was selected by the Kings in the first round (11th overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, and who is thought to possess elite level skills.
However, Bernier’s statistics are a bit deceiving, especially when you consider five of his losses came when the Kings’ skaters did absolutely nothing in front of him defensively, leaving him to fend for himself.
In those games, Bernier allowed 25 goals on 143 shots, good for a .825 save percentage and a 5.52 goal-against average (GAA), all horrible numbers.
Although he got no help in those games, Bernier would be the first to admit that he was not on top of his game to start the season. He even admitted that after being a starter throughout his hockey career, having to adjust to being a backup for the first time was a big challenge, one that he was having some difficultly with (see Jonathan Bernier Is Making The Adjustment To Backup Role With LA Kings).
“I discovered that when you don’t play a lot, it’s kind of hard to get a rhythm,” said Bernier, adding that he felt rusty during a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on October 20, 2010. “It’s my first time being a backup, so I’ve got to find a way. It may take time. I’ve got to find something. I think the big thing that I’ve got to adjust here this year is going to be feeling comfortable right off the bat.”
Head coach Terry Murray was not pleased to hear that Bernier said that he felt rusty, and he issued a challenge to his young netminder.
Read the rest on Frozen Royalty.