You make the call

This is your chance to act like Lombardi and Crawford (you’ll just have to pretend that you make as much money as they do).

You know all the background and the circumstances, so… Jonathan Bernier: stay or go?

A) Send him to him junior team after London.
B) Keep him around for his nine-game trial and see what happens.
C) Keep him on the NHL roster for the whole season.

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  • Justin

    Give him the 9 game trial and go from there. If he still is clearly outplaying everyone else then what’s the argument against it?

  • Aaron

    A) Send him to him junior team after London.

    I’m tired of instant gratification quick fixes for this team. If we truly want to be Stanley Cup challenger we have to go through the growing pains which means we have to wait for Bernier.

    Being the best goalie on this roster truly isn’t saying much.

    Let the kid make mistakes in the minors where he can refine his game without the pressures of the NHL.

    There’s a reason less than a handful of NHL goaltenders IN THE HISTORY OF THE SPORT have gone onto great career after being handed the starting job before the age of 20. Bernier is good but I don’t think he’s THAT good.

  • josh

    B) Keep him around for his nine-game trial and see what happens

  • Mark

    Keep him for the nine games and see what happens, but then only keep him if he is CLEARLY able to handle the mental pressure.

  • Shaun – Long Beach ,CA

    B) why not…?

  • Landon

    I feel every option. Aaron has great points. Fluery looks pretty good in Pittsburgh, he was thrown into the fire 2 years ago and hes got the hang of it…….so far. I gotta go B here. It lets you see Bernier as long as possible without having to commit to the obvious. Plus its very exciting to see a potential franchise goaltender look so good so young. Anyone buy the new jersey yet?

  • Eric K

    B. Then send him down.

    If anyone thinks we can win the Cup this year, argue differently. Give the guy a taste and then send him down for one more year… don’t throw him into the fire this soon.

  • Ed Kao

    Keep him around for a bit, it may not even take 9 games to decide if he is ready.

  • Jon G

    Keeping him for the nine-game trial period seems like a no-brainer.

    If he shows us anything at all, I’d like to see him stay up and play in maybe 20 to 25 games this season. Next season we may have a pretty strong team and I’d like Bernier to have had a full NHL season under his belt by that time.

  • George

    I give him his 9 games and see what happens not only with him, but the rest of the team. I don’t know this kid, I don’t know what drives him, or how he will react to winning, losing, or being sent down.

    Maybe going back to the minors is the worst thing for HIM, because he believes he has nothing more to prove at that level. If so, then you might do more damage sending him back then keeping him as your number one.

    I am glad it’s not my decision!

  • Marc Nathan

    really what it comes down to is, do the Kings want this year to count against his eligibility for free agency down the road. If they send him down before game 10, they save this year. The minute they make the decision to keep him, he can bolt one year sooner. Believe me, having him backstop a team with virtually no hope of making the post season could be a severe detriment to his overall development. I get that he has nothing left to prove in Lewiston, but it’s unrealistic to believe that he’s going to be able to withstand the rigors of the NHL for the full season. I know he looks good, but an aging Blake, a porous Modry, an overrated Stuart, a very young Johnson, and who knows what you get night in/night out with guys like Dallman… well, it could get ugly quickly.

  • jb

    B w/ lean towards C unless he completely cracks and starts crying by his 9th game :-} jk

    Seriosly this sounds like great material to discuss w/ Hex. I would understand what Aaron says above if up until this point his performance in the minors and international had shown promise but that he also just wasn’t ready. But he’s proven himself at those levels. So at what point do you say let’s get him started on the next level.

    Lastly, are goalies that different that you really need to manage their confidence so much that you need to hold them back from challenges and chances to improve? As
    Dean said about Boyle if you communicate to him that the team isn’t expecting Stanley Cup performances can’t he grow by playing here?

  • Jon

    There are really only two options, A and B, since it’d be pretty daft to go with C before B has played out.

  • kevin

    bernier for calder, vezina and hart

  • PuckHead27

    B) Keep him around for his nine-game trial

  • Laq

    c) Keep him all year. He’s the best goaltender they have. The team is not expected to do much this season, so there shouldn’t be that much pressure on him. If they do make the playoffs, he’s a superstar in the making!!

  • david

    B. Keep him around for his nine-game trial and see what happens.

  • Russ

    B) Keep him around for his nine-game trial and see what happens.

  • Nick

    B) seems like the only logical option to me after sending down Cloutier.

  • Kevin

    I forgot to mention Conn Smythe

  • steve baric

    My suggestion is to keep him for 9 games and then send him to junior for sure. As you showed in your piece he is not ready at barely 19. You want him to play for Canada in the World Jr. and then bring him along.

    The scary thing for the Kings this season is that clearly Labarbara is not the having the camp the kings were hoping for. If he was Bernier would already be gone

  • Kevin

    Keep him all year hes ready and hes working HARD to make sure he stays that way i bet hes training his ass off and getting more comfortable with his teammates keep him what is our other option? AUBIN is our second best goalie labarbera isnt good enough and cloutier is in the minors LOL hes ready!

  • Quisp

    If Bernier truly has been the best goalie in camp — then as pretend GM I have to give him the job to lose for 10 games. The other thing I’m thinking as pretend GM is that I don’t really know what kind of team is going to hit the ice in October. I may be SAYING all the right things about rebuilding, but I’m also looking at a roster of which a full 2/3 is either new via free agency, is a rookie for ’07 or is a otherwise new face since last October (e.g. Zeiler). Will this team be 2-8 after ten games? 5-5? 7-3? What I’m saying is, the TEAM has as much to prove as Bernier does, and while I think it’s highly unlikely that I as pretend GM will be keeping Bernier around for the season if he is personally great but the team goes 1-9, I also will find it hard to justify sending him down if the Kings go 7-3 or better in those ten games. or, for that matter, if they go 3-0-7. However, you ask, what if the Kings go 5-5 and Bernier has a 3.00 Goals Against and a .899 save percentage? I say, if that’s the worst he can do, he can stay and the future is now.

    As fans, I think we’re suffering a bit from knowing that the Kings are in fact a better team this year than last year, but not knowing HOW MUCH better. I don’t see any reason why we can’t at least finish with ninety four points, beat Vancouver in the first round, before, you know, losing to Anaheim in seven games after having a two goal lead in the second period.

  • Pete, Norway

    B! B!

    can’t wait to see the Kings in London.

  • Paul

    From a fan’s perspective, option B seems like a no brainer.

    But from managment’s perspective, you have to take into account that Bernier may be too good for juniors?

    If you send him down, and he tears up juniors again, what benefit does he gain from that year?

    The NHL really needs to examine it’s rules as they pertain to the AHL. We saw issues last year with LaBarbera, and now we can’t even send an AHL ready prospect down to the AHL.

    So my answer is B, with a strong lean towards C, but is that really in the best interests of the Kings and Bernier?

  • BallPointHammer

    B.

    How about this for the first 20 games or so:
    Bernier – 9 starts
    Labarbera – 5 or 6 starts
    Aubin – 5 or 6 starts

    In Manchester, play Cloutier 16-18 games out of the first 20.

    By about Thanksgiving the picture will be much clearer for the Kings and the rest of the league. Who knows what trade possibilities might emerge in the mean time? IMO patience is the most important factor for Dean Lombardi, the players and the fans.

  • Jayson

    B. might as well try him out.

  • Anonymous

    Rotate Labarbara and Bernier for the first few games; insert Aubin as appropriate. If Labarbera breaks out of his funk then send down Bernier. Can always be brought back later. When and if Bernier leaves you bring back Cloutier, who should be ready by then. Then carry three goalies until one clearly earns the #1 job, send down the odd man out.

    i guess that is a variation of B???

  • Paul

    To the anonymous poster:

    That’s why there’s so much controversy. Once you send Bernier back to juniors, he’s there for the remainder of the season. You can’t recall him.

  • NMKingsFan

    Like almost everybody else says, B. 9 games could actually be drawn out a while, close to Christmas. Bernier will develop just by getting to practice with the big boys. It will be a huge mental bummer for him to go back to juniors. If he can go back mid-year, then he has the World Juniors to look forward to.

  • Len_Det

    The whole idea is to develop the kid into a bona fida NHL player. Of key importance to that is communication to him about exactly what your thoughts are for his development. I don’t think there is a clear cut answer to the original question. I do think that there is too much emphasis placed on the question of weather or not a player has a delicate psyche or not. If a player has a delicate psyche they probably shouldn’t be playing in the NHL because the professional sports fans and media are brutal on a player if things do not go right for them. More important is strength of character.

    Jonathan probably does not have anything to left to prove in juniors but sending him back there would not be the end of the world. I would give him his 9 games in the NHL then evaluate him at that point. If I think he is going to be learning more and developing better being with big club I would keep him here otherwise I would send him back down to juniors with a list of things he needs to work on to better improve his play.

  • Chuck

    I go with B. No risk decision and maybe a pot of gold waiting for us if he succeeds.

  • fourtunato

    It has got to be B. Use him as a back-up, give La Barbara his shot. Throw Aubin in for a few. By Dec. We’ll know if he should stay or go.

  • kings-night

    B) We need to give him a legitimate chance. He earned it. Plain and simple.

  • John Roy Morgan

    Wasn’t Anze Kopitar 19 when he started out? And he worked out OK… I don’t see the age thing as a huge problem. Bernier would get better served gaining expereince in the NHL as his game is far beyond the league he would have to play in if sent down. So I would go with B.

  • Anonymous

    A steadfast B.

  • WhoThePuck

    B then C

  • Anonymous

    A) Yes, we all want to watch him play, hence all the B’s, but 9 games could ruin the boy.

  • JD

    B) Test the waters, then most likely send him down if we can actually feel somewhat comfortable and confident with Aubin or LaBs in net. LaBs seems weak so far :(

  • mm

    B) I agree w/ dragging the 9 games out; it could carry him w/ the team through November. Then send him back.
    He’ll gain plenty of experience not just in games, but practice, and traveling w/ the team.

  • Mark3

    Theres been strong arguments for both A and B, I’m in favor of both but in the following fashion.

    Keep Bernier up for 9 games and make it clear to him why he’s here. To gain valuable experience and insight as to he can expect in the near future. Then send him back down in December. He’ll have a good shot at making the Canadian Under-20 World Junior team, taking his experience and confidence into the tournament he’ll dominate.

  • Crowbar(di)

    B, 9 games and then after he’s gone 9 – 0 with the leagues best GAA & SV % it should be an automatic C. extend his contract this year!!

  • Ernest

    Keep him for the 9 games then see how it goes. I prefer tosend him back however. Dont wanna rush him in… no sense in doing that. At least we willhave more time to see how Labarbara anh Aubin do.

  • CHUCK

    B) 9 game trial and after he’s 9-0 with a GAA < 2.00, and a save % > .920, keep him!!!!

  • BobMillersHair

    B) Keep him around for his nine-game trial and see what happens.

    He has earned the opportunity to get some starts.

    I dont know if this question has been asked before:

    Q: Can the Kings send Bernier back and forth unlimited times from the NHL to the QMJHL until he gets his 9 starts.

    Example:
    Bernier gets an NHL start, goes back to the Q and plays 5 games then comes back to the NHL, gets another start then goes back to the Q..and so on..until he gets the 9 games..

  • Hockey Only

    You want to know why Lombadi uses baseball as his analogy to hockey?? Because the way you folks are talking about JB, you’re treating him like he was a young fireballing pitcher and he’s not, he’s a GOALTENDER, pay attention to his poise not his age, pay attention to his interviews, not that he can go back to Juniors and finally pay attention to the moves and the body language when he is scored on. He is getting more pressure now then he will if he is with the team all season. You send him back to Juniors and you just may lose the edge that is bringing him on as an NHL goaltender. HockeyOnly has left the Coop.

  • EJ

    As a couple of others have mentioned, much of the decision about Bernier is going to come down to how the team performs overall. If the team stinks, or is even mediocre, do you really want to burn a year of his pro eligibility?

    Perhaps with all the new faces, it will take a few months for this team to really catch its stride. Unfortunately, a decision on Bernier will have to be made much sooner than that.

    As long as he looks confident and is learning something, keep him around until he’s played his nine games, and then return him to juniors. It will be very valuable experience. He’ll have a good idea where he needs to improve.

    If, and only if, the team is playing solid hockey, night in and night out, AND if he’s playing like the second coming of Patrick Roy, do you throw up your hands and say, “okay, he’s our man . . . right now.”

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

    Wow, okay……..Great discussion Rich!

    Let me first start out by saying that there have been lots of good arguments from just about all of the pros and cons that exist in this matter.

    To act as GM here while being limited in my knowledge of Bernier and what might be going through his head, this is how is see it from what I have heard him say and how he has performed so far. I have seen him in all of his pre-season games, and like he stated after his first game “everything was moving really fast, it was hard to get completely comfortable coming in at the second half of the game” (I believe thats what he said). Yet he still had a good game and seemed to track the puck well and remain cool and calm the whole time. In game two, he started the first half and looked a little more comfortable and confident, and in Vegas he played the whole game and literally won that game for us!
    Even though he gave up two goals in each of those games, I would say that they were all legitimate goals, and not scored because of his lack of skill and positioning. That being said, his performance in Vegas was quite literally a Vezina trophy winning performance.
    He played in juniors, then he played in the super series, (which show-cased the up and coming talent to play in the NHL (AHL talent) and now it’s time for the next level. I know that it is moving really fast for him, but he has proven himself at every level and has only gotten better each time. He tracks the puck well, he is really fast in all directions, and he looks very comfortable all the time, in fact I already refer to him as Jonathan “The Cool Cat” Bernier. These abilities and attributes speak maturity to me!
    If he were to be sent back to juniors I believe (from what I have witnessed and stated earlier) that could be just as detrimental to his development as others have argued by saying “throwing him into the fire” could be. Since he has only been improving and looks to me to be ready at this point. sending him the signal that we think he is not ready and sending him down could serve to make him bitter and feel as though he is wasting his time and talent swatting a flies in juniors, when he could be getting more experience and familar with his team and the NHL speed and intensity.
    I think that we should have him playing in just about 2/3′s of the first nineteen games, giving Labs to other starts. Then if he shows that he can maintain his mental toughness, which I believe that he has shown, then keep him for the whole season and let his career being. Although I would hate to have his contract end one year sooner by playing him this year, I think that it would be worse to send him down if he proves himself worthy of playing at this level. He might not want to resign with a team that has no confidence in him.
    Another point is that this team is still growing, and while I would love nothing more than to see the Kings make the playoffs this year, I know that we are far from being Stanly Cup contenders. Him being here now while we have the key components of this team in place I think would be very good for him and the team in the long run. If he stays then everyone will learn one another and grow together which will result in team confidence in every aspect. As we witnessed last year, the team was much better than their record showed due to lack of goaltending
    and the confidence to attack the opposition because of this BIG problem.

    Keep Bernier he is ready to show the NHL what he can bring!

    Thankd Rich, DL and all of you who blog…..with all of the in-site that you give us Rich, from interviews ranging from players to the GM, and all of the opinions that you all express, I feel like I actually have a say as to what the Kings do as a franchise, as I feel like I know this organization from the inside out. It just makes being a Kings fan that much better!

    LA Kings 2010-2011 Stanley Cup Champions!!!

  • Moondoggie

    Great comments by all, thank you! Yes, JB has been the talk around our house all week too. My opinion (like most of the rest above), go with…..

    B

    Let’s see what he has for the first nine games. If he proves himself like I’m certain he will, keep him. He will prove himself, this kid is good, very good. I loved his interview, what a difference between him and Clouts. Dan talked (and has been doing so for the last two years) like he was just trying to stop the puck. Jon knows he can and will, the clear difference is confidence which Bernier definitely has. Maybe Clouts will get his game back in Manchester but I sincerely doubt it. My feeling is that he was always overrated. JB is the real deal. Oh yes, it’s just the pre-season and we have a long ways to go. We’ve got to consider the long term as well for JB. I believe like so many other comments, he has absolutely nothing to prove at Lewiston. He can’t go to Manchester which is unfortunate. I think sending him back to Lewiston would be a mistake, this kid is on a roll right now. If he’s successful the first nine games, he offically begins his career with LA, if not, he goes back to Lewiston to regain whatever confidence he’s lost from playing the faster game in the NHL. That’s not going to happen, just look at what a stint with Jack Johnson and Patrick O’Sullivan did for them last year. I believe JB is different, the kid sounds ready, he looks ready. Give him the nine games, then let him go house shopping in LA. Oh yes, then dust off the mantle for Lord Stanley’s Cup, not this year but soon. Just look at how far we’ve come since last season. We’re so much closer than we have been the last four years. And get ready to give Bernier the Vezina, not this year but soon. It will be worth the wait.

  • mrkuyukot

    B, if things go well, C. What does he have to prove in Juniors? Send him down and you shoot down his morale and maybe his game. Then you’ll have doubts if he’s good enough for the NHL when the next season comes up. C’mon people! This really should be a no brainer.

  • Anonymous

    B B B. We don’t have much to lose. And since I am playing the role of Marc Crawford, I would not name a number 1 goalie. I would rotate my goal tenders this way: Pick a goalie, if he starts and wins, he starts the next game, if he loses or had to be pulled, the other goal tender starts the next game. As long as a goal tender is winning, he keeps starting the next game. This might be why I’m not Marc Crawford in real life. Go Kings!

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