Frozen Royalty: Jonathan Bernier Is Making The Adjustment To Backup Role
Jonathan Bernier seems to have shaken off the rust after two wins in two starts. Gann Matsuda has a new piece on the young backup with some great quotes from the team. Take a read!
LOS ANGELES — The fact that Los Angeles Kings rookie goaltender Jonathan Bernier struggled to start the 2010-11 season came as quite the shock to many observers, especially those who have watched him excel at every level.
Whether it was junior hockey in Canada, leading the Manchester Monarchs (Kings’ primary minor league affiliate) to the American Hockey League’s Eastern Conference Finals last season, or three games with the Kings last season when he was brilliant, Bernier has shined in the starting role.
But this season, the backup to Jonathan Quick has struggled, despite the fact that he oozes elite level skills and technique.
Bernier was just 2-2-0 in his first four starts, despite posting solid numbers with a 2.26 goals-against average (GAA) and a .922 save percentage.
Looking deeper, Bernier was inconsistent in those games as he was having a tough time adjusting to life as a backup goaltender.
“I discovered that when you don’t play a lot, it’s kind of hard to get a rhythm,” the 5-11, 186-pound native of Laval, Quebec said, adding that he felt rusty during a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on October 20. “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.”
Kings head coach Terry Murray seemed to be a bit miffed when told that Bernier said that he felt rusty.
“[Bernier has to] figure it out,” Murray rather bluntly. “You can never come back to me at the end of the game and say, ‘I felt a little rusty.’ Work at your game in practice. Put that kind of game focus and work ethic into practice so that you’re prepared for your opportunity when the game is there.”
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