LOS ANGELES AND SPRINGFIELD, MA — Two Los Angeles Kings made news today as goaltending prospect Jonathan Bernier won the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Award as the American Hockey League’s outstanding goaltender for the 2009-10 season while forward Brad Richardson was named as the Kings’ nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
Bernier, 21 has earned a 30-20-6 record, with a 2.03 goals-against average, a .937 save percentage and nine shutouts in 57 appearances. He leads the AHL in shots faced (1,807), saves (1,693), save percentage and shutouts, earning him the honor of being named as the AHL’s best netminder this season.
The 5-11. 184-pound native of Laval, Quebec is twenty minutes shy of the league lead in minutes played (3,366). He is third in wins and second in goals-against average (GAA).
Bernier, who was voted the starting Canadian goaltender at the 2010 AHL All-Star Classic and was named the Reebok/AHL Goaltender of the Month for October 2009 and the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week for the weekend ending January 31, 2010, has backstopped the Manchester Monarchs (Kings’ primary minor league affiliate) to be the second-best defense in the AHL.
Bernier, who was 23-24-4 last season with a 2.40 GAA and a .914 save percentage in 54 games as a rookie with Manchester, is also 3-0-0 in three National Hockey League appearances with the Kings this season, including his first NHL shutout on March 30 at Nashville.
Bernier’s stellar play in goal has led the Monarchs to an AHL playoff berth.
The Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award, which was first presented in 1984, honors former Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Baz Bastien, who played four seasons in goal with the AHL’s Pittsburgh Hornets (1945-49) before suffering a career-ending eye injury. Bastien would go on to serve as head coach and general manager of the Hornets, leading them to the 1967 Calder Cup championship. Previous winners of the award include Jon Casey (1985), Sam St. Laurent (1986), Mark Laforest (1987, 1991), Felix Potvin (1992), Manny Legace (1996), Martin Biron (1999), Dwayne Roloson (2001), Jason LaBarbera (2004, 2007), Ryan Miller (2005), Dany Sabourin (2006), Michael Leighton (2008) and Cory Schneider (2009).
The award is voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the AHL’s 29 cities.
Bernier is the youngest recipient of the Bastien Award since Biron (also 21) won it in 1999.
Richardson, 25, was named as the Kings’ Masterton nominee by the Los Angeles chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
The Masterton Trophy is awarded annually by the PHWA to honor the late Bill Masterton, a player for the Minnesota North Stars who exhibited qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey before he died on January 15, 1968, as the result of an on-ice injury.
The chapter had the following to say about the 5-11. 195-pound native of Belleville, Ontario in their nominating statement:
Foot injuries hampered this speedy center/left wing last season and limited him to only 31 games, and his job was in jeopardy. At his exit meeting with Coach Terry Murray last April, Murray recalled Richardson being adamant that he would rebound this season and earn more playing time—and that’s exactly what has happened.
After scoring no goals in his first 57 games with the Kings, he has scored 11 and had 27 points—and through the games of April 3, the Kings were 10-0-1 in games in which he has scored. He has four game-winning goals, tied for third [with Jarret Stoll] behind Michal Handzus’ six and Drew Doughty’s five.
Richardson has brought energy, enthusiasm and determination to a young team that is establishing its identity and has helped by playing on all four lines and switching from left wing to center as required. His upbeat attitude has been important in getting the Kings through some rocky stretches after the Olympic break.
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