The goalie shuffle

Ten days after training camp started, the Kings seem no closer to finding a No. 1 goalie. If anything, it’s more distant than ever. Last night, Aubin started and stopped 13 of 15 shots. LaBarbera came in and stopped 12 of 16. Not exactly world-beating stuff, and when I talked to Marc Crawford today he didn’t seem particularly enamored with either player’s game.

“The goaltending was not good on the penalty kill but it was good 5-on-5,” Crawford said. “Aubin was probably the better of the two. LaBarbera did not have a top-flight night but he still had his moments. We’re going to take every practice and every game into consideration. We’re still going to take as much time as we need with this. It’s not comfortable for anybody, but it is what it is.”

Crawford wouldn’t say who he plans to start in goal Saturday. I asked him if he planned to play the guys he wanted to get a final look at, and he said only that he would put together a “very competitive” team.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Bernier is still hanging around…

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  • petey

    Funny. The #1 spot is up for grabs, and the ones leading the way are a 19 year old, and a journeyman backup. Way to step up LaBarbera and Cloutier.

  • Kevco

    To me it seems everyone has been all hot on LaBarbera, I just haven’t seen his greatness in preseason games yet. Am I missing something. The kid looked much sharper when I saw him at Staples. Is he ready for NHL, I don’t know, I’m no coach but he looks really good.

  • SS

    I’m really concerned about LaBarbera. The guy was told 6 months ago that he was going to get a real shot at the #1 position. And yet, he seems to have come into camp unprepared. I’m not sure what that says about his character, but it’s probably nothing good.

    With Bernier coming up, this’ll probably be LaBarbera’s best, and maybe last, chance.

  • KingsFan78

    Bernier/LaBarbera/Cloutier to start the season. Aubin down in Manchester. The 3 of them split the games at the start, see how Bernier plays in actual NHL games before that limit comes up, and take it from there. Goaltending is almost everything, and since the experienced guys aren’t doing a whole lot, what have they got to lose? If Bernier isn’t NHL ready, send him back to junior. If he is, go nuts.

    Maybe that’s why Boyle played up front last night, since if they kept 3 goalies, they’ll probably go with 13 F and 7 D once they get back from London.

  • GMatsuda

    During LaBarbera’s first stint with the Kings two seasons ago. That year, he started the season on fire, but was mediocre, or worse, after that.

    During this pre-season, LaBarbera has not looked anywhere close to the red-hot goalie we saw early that season. Rather, he has looked only minimally better than the mediocre one we saw the rest of the way.

  • Jim K

    I havent been too impressed with any of the goalies besides Bernier. I only hope that Bernier is really this good and its not relative to the other goalies not playing so well. Would Bernier stand out this much if he was on a team with Kipper or Brodeur?

  • Daniel

    The Kings still have 9 days to decide which 2-3 goalies will be sticking with the team. What ever decision will be made will be the right one, for what they have. Personally, I am betting on Aubin and Bernier. For those worried about rushing the rookie – remember that M.A. Fleury was still just 18 when he started in the NHL. Bernier has an extra full year of Juniors and International tournaments under his belt. If he is the best, let him play.

  • Chewy Rocky Horror

    Not defending Labs, but he did have a disappointing camp a couple of years ago when Garon & Hauser were the goalies. He was very good once the season started. Too bad he had that family issue. I think he was on his way before that happened.

    I say let Bernier play the whole game on Saturday to see if he can handle an entire game at this level. Enough of this baby steps crap. If the kid can play, let him play.

  • raL

    can labarbera be sent back to manchester?

  • GMatsuda

    Also keep in mind that Marc-Andre Fleury was assigned back to his junior team by the Pens in his first season because he wasn’t getting the job done.

  • Galen

    This from Bob McKenzie of TSN:
    A similar situation exists in Los Angeles, where Team Canada goalie Jonathan Bernier has clearly outplayed veterans Dan Cloutier, Jason LaBarbera and J.S. Aubin. The last thing kings’ GM Dean Lombardi wants to do is to throw a good underage goalie to the wolves, because L.A. certainly isn’t a Cup contender, but the Kings need a goalie to make a save and no one is doing it better than Bernier.

  • Alex

    I think the most important thing to remember is that this is the preseason. So if you’re going to give credence to JLB’s and Clout’s crappy stats as legitimate, then I think you have to do the same with JB’s and Aubin’s good stats.

    So its either:
    preseason play isn’t very important and its still anyone’s spot
    or
    Aubin/Bernier are the real thing and DC/JLB are headed to Manchester.

    Personally, I think Cloutier is gonna be the one on the way out. He needed to play better than the other 3 to be worth that 3.1M cap hit, and likely has not been better than any of them.

    …unless AEG doesn’t wanna pay a minor leaguer 3.1M
    :-(

  • BobMillersHair

    Start the season with Bernier/LaBarbera/Aubin. Send Cloutier down. You can bring him up and down / back and forth / front ways and side ways and he will clear waivers every time. Nobody wants to be stuck with his contract.

  • Nick

    “Would Bernier stand out this much if he was on a team with Kipper or Brodeur?”

    Probably not…but pretty much only Luongo would if the comparison is with those two.

    Keep Bernier on the team to start the year. Give him a good look to start the year. He has 9 games to make a positive or negative statement about how he will contribute to the team right now.

  • Moondoggie

    BobMillersHair and Nick, right on. Send Cloutier down, he’ll clear waivers every time, if he doesn’t, problem solved, he becomes someone else’s headache. If he actually plays his way into shape which I sincerely doubt, the Kings are all the more better as a result. In the meantime, do a POS move with Bernier. Give him the 9 games and lets see how he plays. If his confidence takes a hit, send him back to Lewiston (a’la O’Sullivan last year) to get his game together. Bernier will get back to juniors and probably not allow a goal the rest of the year; he has the QMJHL wired. My guess, and hopefully for the Kings, he makes the team, captures the Vezina in a year or so while we enjoy the next 5-10 years of our beloved team in the cup finals…..How’s that for a positive spin???

  • LA Kings 2010-2011 Stanley Cup Champions!!!

    LA Kings 2010-2011 Stanley Cup Champions!!! With Kopitar leading the way and Johnson laying the smack down on all who oppose, and Bernier backing them all up; We can’t be stopped! GO, KINGS, GO!

  • Kelly Hrudey

    I say the Kings should try and lure Sean Burke out of retirement, he’s better than all of them.

  • Paul

    We all clamoured all summer long about the situation in goal, and D.L.’s answer was J.S. Aubin?? With guys like Esche still sitting out there?

    No disrespect intended towards Aubin, but he’s not an NHL #1.

    So, we’re left with a mess in net,just 9 days till we take on the defending SC champs (and division & city rivals” 6,000 miles from home??

    D.L. & crew really contnue to disppoint me.

    What’s the answer to this problem?

    1: You give Clouts the 2 starts in London. The last thing you want is an in-exeperienced goalie staring the season on foreign soil against Anaheim.

    2: Barring 2 impressive wins in London, you waive Cloutier, and if anyone takes him, they help pay him. If not, it’s down to Manchester.

    3: For the 10/6 game vs. the Blues, you start Bernier and he gets his 9 game audition. We all know he’s too good for juniors, and he’s ineligable for the AHL, so the question he has to answer for us is he ready for the NHL? 9 games isn’t much, but it’s better than nothing.

    3: Then after Bernier’s 9 games, you re-evauate.

    Seems pretty obvious to me??

  • JAB

    Don’t look now, but Clouts has been placed on waivers according to TSN….

  • http://tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=218857&hubname=nhl mike

    well i suppose it will be easier now that cloutier has been waived. so if crawford is going to carry 3 goalies it looks like Aubin, Bernier and Labs.

  • Vahe

    According to TSN, Cloutier has been placed on waivers

  • Carey

    Well, looks like everyone got their wish with Cloutier being waived. Things are definitely getting more interesting.

  • ryan

    CLOUTIER IS GONE!

  • BobMillersHair

    TSN.ca Staff

    9/21/2007 12:29:18 PM

    TSN has learned that the Los Angeles Kings have placed goaltender Dan Cloutier on waivers Friday.

    The Kings had hoped that Cloutier would be the answer between the pipes when they acquired him in July of 2006 for a pair of draft picks. However Cloutier struggled with injuries last season, missing 44 games with a hip injury. He finished the season with a record of 6-14-2 with an .860 save percentage.

    The former Canucks netminder was expected to challenge for the number one goaltender spot this season with the Kings but has been outplayed in the pre-season by junior eligible netminder Johnathan Bernier who shone for Canada at the Summit Series.

  • Jon
  • JB

    Paul: Aubin and Esche are carbon copies of each other. Similar stats, experience… So what makes you think Esche would be an upgrade?

  • Paul

    First off, sorry bout the poor typing last post. I was 1-handed at the time.

    Regarding Esche, I don’t think he’s a viable #1 either, but he’s not any worse then anyone else we had on the roster when I wrote that post.

    I guess now that Cloutier has been waived, the question is partly answered.

    Now I think we’re more curious then ever as to who will start the season as the #1 guy.

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