|Bernier at practice today (photo: D. Sheehan)|
As we wrote about earlier today, trading goalie Jonathan Bernier is a risky proposition for the LA Kings when you consider that starter Jonathan Quick can be a walk-away free agent in less than 18 months.
However, he remains one of the key assets likely to move in any big deal that GM Dean Lombardi may swing for a top line sniper. So, after practice today, we spoke about what it’s like to continually hear your name in trade speculation at this time of year…
“I just can’t control anything,” Bernier began. “So, I’ve been going day by day and that’s what I’ve been doing all year. It’s in management’s control and if Dean finds that he wants to trade me, then he’ll trade me.”
When Bernier checked in with MayorsManor over the summer he talked about wanting to play in LA, but realizing that he might have to leave to reach his ultimate goal of being a starter in the NHL. And that’s the same dilemma he’s facing at the moment.
“I’m a competitive guy and I want to play as much as possible. Right now, I don’t have the playing time that I’d wish (for),” Bernier said. “But, Quickie’s been outstanding this year and that’s the way it goes, I guess. But, I would like to play more. If it’s here, then it’s here. If it’s somewhere else, it’s somewhere else.”
For the second year in a row, he seems to have elevated his game in the weeks following the Christmas break. Since the holiday, he’s only given up five goals over ten periods of play. Even though he only has a 1-1-1 record to show for it, is there something going on that’s helping him feel better out on the ice?
“No. I wish I had a good start, but that’s just the way it goes. A little bit before Christmas I started feeling really good about my game…and I think I’ve played some really good games. Like I said though, I wish it was there from the start.”
As for the growing whispers of him being included in a deal – “Obviously, there’s been a lot of talk about me in the trade rumors. But, it’s just a rumor. Those things aren’t true most of the time. So, I don’t want to deal with that, I guess. People are asking me, but I have no clue.”
For frequent readers of MayorsManor, you may remember that before the season started Bernier leaked to us that he’d be bringing out a new mask at some point this season – with artwork from a local graffiti artist. After previously hinting that it may be coming out in December (when the Kings wore purple and gold), the only scoop he’d share today was ‘It’s not ready yet’ – followed by one of his classic ear-to-ear smiles.