Goalie breakdown - LA Kings Insider

I got a chance to catch up with Kings goalie coach Bill Ranford today, and I asked Bill if he could give a quick rundown of his impressions of each of the goalies in the Kings’ system this season. So here we go, starting with Jonathan Quick and continuing with Erik Ersberg, Jonathan Bernier, Jeff Zatkoff, Martin Jones and J-F Berube…

JONATHAN QUICK (29-16-3, 2.56 GAA, .907 save percentage in 48 games with Kings)
RANFORD: “We’re excited about what he’s been able to do with the number of games he has played. That was probably the big question mark with everybody, how he would handle coming back as the No. 1, and I think he has proven to everybody that he is able to handle the workload and the pressures of a team that is now trying to compete for a playoff spot.”

(on Quick being able to rest a bit during the Olympics…)
RANFORD: “That’s going to be important, because I don’t think it’s ever so much the physical aspect of it for him. I think it’s more so the mental, and that will give him a nice little break. But you never know what could happen in a short tournament. He’s got to be ready to go, but there will definitely be a little of the mental break for him, which I think is important.”

ERIK ERSBERG (2-3-0, 3.21, .882 in 7 games with Kings)
RANFORD: “He’s much better. I think it was a disappointing start for him. Probably a little bit due to the lack of playing time, he just couldn’t find his game. His last couple starts, he’s been real good for us. He hasn’t been able to win, but he’s working hard in practice and that’s important.”

JONATHAN BERNIER (20-11-5, 1.95, .941 in 37 games with AHL’s Manchester)
RANFORD: “He’s been outstanding. He’s definitely Manchester’s MVP, if not in the running for one of the MVPs of the whole league, with the way he’s been playing. They’ve just been decimated by injuries down there, and those injuries are to most of their offensive-style players. They’re playing ugly hockey right now, and relying on great goaltending from both (Bernier) and Jeff.”

(on the relative importance of Bernier getting a playoff run with Manchester…)
RANFORD: “He’s had the opportunity to play in the playoffs at the American Hockey League level, but it’s more about him being able to play and be consistent. He has lived up to our expectations, and much, much more, with what he’s done this year and with the way the team has struggled with injuries this year.”

JEFF ZATKOFF (8-5-0, 2.36, .932 in 14 games with Manchester)
RANFORD: “He’s been real good for the team. It’s definitely frustrating for him, because he’s playing well and having to play one every three, one every four games, but it’s great because he’s pushing Joe to be better with the way he has battled. It was a big test for him. He had injury troubles last year in the East Coast league.

He had a great first half and then, due to the injuries, he kind of fell off a little bit and realized that it’s a lot different game than the college game, the maintenance of your body and taking care of yourself. He learned from that last year and I think that has really helped him this year. He came in very determined in training camp, and I think surprised everybody with how hard he worked and how far his game has come along. That’s a testament to him.”

MARTIN JONES (20-10-0, 2.82, .895 in 30 games with WHL’s Calgary)
RANFORD: “Jonesy ran into an ankle injury early in the season in Calgary, but came back strong. I was real proud of him. For him to have to go into that final game of the World Junior and for the team to have a comeback, I was real proud of him. That’s probably the toughest situation that you’ll ever be put in, in your lifetime, as a goalie, and he rose to the challenge. I think he struggled a little bit when he got back from World Junior — probably fatigue — and there was a lot of pressure involved in that tournament. But he has been pretty good of late. I think he’s back on track and playing some good hockey for them.”

J-F BERUBE (11-9-4, 3.10, .899 in 27 games with QMJHL’s Montreal)
RANFORD: “I just saw Berube. I’m excited about the way things are heading for him. He was playing behind Jake Allen, and when they moved Jake during the World Juniors, he’s now been given the No. 1 role there. Originally we thought they were going to compete for that job, and that didn’t happen. No matter what he did, he was stuck in the No. 2 position. Now he’s been handed that role. I think he struggled a little bit while Jake was at the World Junior, trying to find his game, and probably from game 3 on, since he has taken over as the No. 1, he’s been really good.

“I know he lost back-to-back OT games against Rouyn this weekend. Deslauriers was the first star Friday night, but he was second star Friday night and first star last night, and faced 40-plus shots in both. He lost 2-1 and 3-2, so he’s working hard and this is the opportunity that he was looking for, to get a chance to play, and I think he’s kind of relishing it right now and kind of running with it.”