December 23, 2011 1:29 pm

Not so fast, Mr. Bernier

How did Darryl Sutter celebrate his first victory as Kings coach? By nearly hog-tying his backup goalie. I watched Sutter on the bench, to see his reaction after the shootout, and as the players left the bench to high-five each other on the ice, Sutter grabbed Bernier by the back of his jersey, just after Bernier hopped onto the ice, and nearly pulled him down backward. In the NFL, they might call it a horse-collar tackle. Sutter looked like he was roping a calf up on the farm in Alberta. There was speculation that Sutter told Bernier he would be starting tonight in San Jose, but in the locker room, Bernier said Sutter was just giving him some encouragement. Bernier joked, “I thought I had done something wrong.” After today’s skate, Sutter was asked about his hands-on approach with Bernier.

SUTTER: “I just think he did a really good job yesterday. We talked about everybody in the room being a part of trying to create an identity, and I just thought it was important that he knows he’s a big part of that, just because of how he was in the last couple days.’’

And, with the Kings facing back-to-back games, would Bernier be starting tonight? Sutter wouldn’t say.

SUTTER: “Just to put it on record, I don’t say who starting goalies are. This is not baseball.’’

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