Talking Monarchs hockey - LA Kings Insider

This morning, I caught up with Manchester Monarchs coach Mark Morris, as part of a couple player features that will be published within the next week. Additionally, I asked Morris about the play of his team in general and, in particular, about the play of AHL goalie of the year Jonathan Bernier. The Monarchs had an excellent start to this season but were decimated by injuries and by call-ups to the Kings. They finished third in their division but upset the second-place team (Portland) in the first round and are now one win away from eliminating the first-place team (Worcester) in the second round. Bernier, who has two shutouts in nine playoff games so far, has been a big part of the Monarch’s season-long success. Here’s some thoughts from Morris and, below, a podcast done with Monarchs GM (and Kings assistant GM) Ron Hextall…

Question: You’ve had some great play by Jonathan Bernier in the playoffs so far. From your perspective, is that just a continuation of what you saw in the regular season?

MORRIS: “I think he just brings a whole calming influence to our entire team. He makes the hard saves look easy, and there’s no wasted motion in his game. As shooters come down on him, there isn’t a whole lot for them to see. How he presents himself to the shooter is a big deterrent, and he absorbs shots. There’s not too many rebounds. His confidence is brimming right now, and it certainly has carried over to our team’s success. He’s the one that gave us the opportunities, with so many first- and second-year players, to get our bearings. As soon as we got (Andrei) Loktionov and (Oscar) Moller back, and got some guys healthy, the combination of the great goaltending that we saw throughout the year and depth has really helped our stretch run.”

Question: You had so many injuries during the season. Now that you have some better stability, does this feel more like where you wanted to be throughout the year?

MORRIS: “We’re still a work in progress, believe it or not. We’re still trying to work on our chemistry. I have a list of guys who have been here. I formulated it yesterday. The count is 14 guys who aren’t here now, who have helped us get to this point. Needless to say, it’s just been crazy, and if you count (J-F) Berube and (Jordan) Nolan, there’s 16 different personalities that aren’t even in the lineup now but have contributed to how we got here. I guess it all points back to Bernier being the guy in the early going, when we were getting outshot, giving us the opportunity to stay in tight games. The handful of guys that we’ve had for the last couple years, guys like (Trevor) Lewis and (Gabe) Gauthier and (Marc-Andre) Cliche, (Drew) Bagnall, those types of guys have really carried us. And (John) Zeiler. Those guys, during critical moments, get quality minutes, and they’ve held their ground. They’ve killed a lot of penalties and endured a lot of real hectic moments to make up for a lot of inexperience. I think those guys are kind of our unsung heroes, getting us to this point.”

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

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#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


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