Kings demote Bernier
The Los Angeles Kings and Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi Monday announced the following player transactions: goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin has been activated from the injured reserve list; forward Brady Murray has been assigned to Manchester of the American Hockey League; and goaltender Jonathan Bernier has been returned to Lewiston of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.The Kings are in trouble.>> team release
Los Angeles has allowed 27 goals in six games so far, 4.5 goals against per game, and the team's only win was one of the two goofy games in England to start the year. Bernier was in goal for 16 of those goals against in four starts, and even those numbers are an improvement over the 4.51 GAA and .827 save percentage Jason LaBarbera has managed to this point.
It's ugly stuff, and another few weeks of this and it's another lost season for the Kings. Coach Marc Crawford is officially, already, on the hot seat (he's actually sharing it with Bob Hartley).
There are a few ways for this to now go:
- Aubin's going to get a few starts now, simply because he's the only option, and if he can win a few games, they're in business. This seems unlikely
- Dan Clouter gets a recall from Manchester of the AHL, where he's been mediocre in two starts, and gets a few starts. This could be uglier
- A trade or signing
Now, the Kings are far from the only team in the league having early goaltending problems, and I wouldn't discount the likelihood that another 'tender could be had in a trade. Manny Fernandez has been brutal in Boston, both Atlanta goalies have ugly GAAs, and someone like Jose Theodore or Marc Denis could be had for a song (and not even a good one).
As for Bernier, well, he showed me enough that I think he'll be just fine as an NHL 'tender — eventually. It's the rest of the team that's got a problem right now in la-la land.