Sorry for the lack of updates yesterday, as I’ve been trying to prepare to get out of town.
There are a couple of good interviews to be posted today. The first is with Jonathan Bernier, who is far too normal to be a NHL goalie. This kid is going to have to develop some personality quirks or weird habits if he wants to make it in the league… Seriously though, this interview gives some insight into what Bernier went through last season.
Question: This is now your third camp. Does the comfort level increase every time you come to one of these?
BERNIER: “Any time I can have some experience coming in, it’s a big advantage for me. I think the camp is really good, just to get in good shape for the last stretch of summer and get ready for September. So I’m just here to work hard and try to show what I can do. I’ll work hard in the practices and the games.”
Question: It’s no secret that there’s going to be a lot of goalie competition at training camp. Are you completely focused on earning a spot with the Kings?
BERNIER: “Yeah. I’m not coming here for vacation, for sure. I’m coming in because I want to make the team this year. Last year didn’t really go the way I wanted. I had the injury and there was nothing I could do about it. But this year, if I can have a healthy camp and be ready for it, I will show what I can do.”
Question: Do you feel you got the experience you needed, playing at the AHL level last year, to make the full-time jump to the NHL now?
BERNIER: “I really had it tough last year. In all my years of junior, and even before that, everything was really easy for me to get the net. Everything was going well, and then last year, to not get the chance to be here and to be down there, it was a big disappointment for me. It took me a couple weeks to get in the game, especially with the injury, and then when Jonathan Quick got called up, it was hard for me too. So I really had some ups and downs, but overall I think that if I look back in five years, it’s going to maybe end up being the best year for me, even if it was up and down. I had a really good end of the season, so that feels good, to finish on a good note.”
Question: What do you think it was that pulled you out of that, if anything in particular?
BERNIER: “I think what I learned is that when things don’t go your way, you have to go back to your base. Just do the little things in practice and work hard. I had a long talk with Ron Hextall and that’s what he told me. `Work hard in practice, and it won’t come right away, but your game is going to come.’ And that’s what happened at the end of the season. In the last two months, I was really happy about it. I worked hard in practice, even if I was not really happy. The thing is to not worry too much. When I got cut, I was so upset, but I’m still young. I’m 20, but I don’t really realize that though, because it’s my third camp, but I’ll get my chances, and when I get them, I just have to be prepared.”
Question: It’s going to be pretty competitive between you guys in camp. Do you talk about that at all?
BERNIER: “Not really. We all know what we need to do. When you’re focused and you don’t really worry about anybody else, then you’ll have the best chance to make it.”