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Gann Matsuda On The Hockey Writers: LA Kings’ Jonathan Bernier Navigating Uncharted Waters

LOS ANGELES — After a brilliant year in the American Hockey League, goaltender Jonathan Bernier had a spot on the Los Angeles Kings’ 2010-11 roster locked up as soon as the 2009-10 season ended.

Indeed, the Kings’ first round pick (11th overall) in the 2006 National Hockey League Entry Draft is in the midst of the biggest challenge of his hockey career, not to earn a roster spot, but to be a backup goaltender for the first time in his career, and although he has started just two games so far this season, it is apparent that he still has some growing up to do in terms of becoming a full-fledged NHL netminder. Read more of this post

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Has Dean Lombardi Solved The LA Kings’ Goaltending Woes?

LOS ANGELES — With the exception of should-be-a-Hall-of-Famer Rogie Vachon, Mario Lessard and Felix Potvin (for about one season), “goaltending” and “Los Angeles Kings” should not be used in the same sentence unless the idea is to cause uncontrollable laughter or crushing despair, depending on who you might be talking to. Read more of this post

Jonathan Bernier: Chomping At The Bit

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Even for those who follow the Los Angeles Kings, it is rather astonishing that they have developed their own number one goalie just once in their more than forty years in the National Hockey League.

That netminder was Mario Lessard, who won 35 games for the Kings and was named to play in the NHL All-Star Game in the 1980-81 season.

Lessard played four seasons as the Kings’ number one goalie from 1978-80 through the 1981-82 season, with his 1980-81 performance being his best by far. Lessard faded into obscurity after that.

Of course, the Kings best goaltender was Rogie Vachon, but he was not drafted and developed by the Kings. Neither were Kelly Hrudey or Felix Potvin, two of the Kings other notable netminders. As for the rest? The vast majority have reminded fans more of a sieve than a legitimate National Hockey League goaltender.

Moreover, the only one in that list who could be considered an elite netminder was Vachon, who often single-handedly won games. But that could change soon, as the Kings just might be developing, not only a legitimate number one goaltender, but a elite one at that. Read more of this post

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