Tonight, Jonathan Bernier will make his fifth NHL start, and his first since an Oct. 14, 2007 loss to Detroit. In his first go-around with the Kings, Bernier won his NHL debut, against Anaheim in London, then lost games to St. Louis, Boston and Detroit. Bernier has dominated the American Hockey League this season, but will his success carry over to the NHL? Bernier had something of a bumpy start. One of his pieces of luggage didn’t make it to Dallas. Luckily, his goalie gear did. Here’s what Bernier said about his season debut with the Kings…
Question: When did they tell you that you were coming up?
BERNIER: “Before practice yesterday, so I had to practice and then my flight was at 2 from Manchester. A long day. I had to go to Cleveland first, and then here. Exciting, though.”
Question: Did you find out today that you were starting?
BERNIER: “Yeah, I found out before practice.”
Question: What is your mindset here, knowing that this, most likely, is a temporary thing?
BERNIER: “I’m just going to go day by day. I’m just happy to be here. I’ve been focusing to have a good season down there, and I think I’ve done that so far. Right now, it’s just to be here, get the win tonight and show what I can do.”
Question: You’ve had great numbers down there this year. Mentally, has it been tough to go used to the idea of being there all year?
BERNIER: “Well, last year I wasted a season. I understand that. After the first two months of the season last year, I think I started playing better. I just said to myself, `Don’t do the same mistake again.’ They asked me to go down and show that I can be the best. I’ve just been really focused on every game and just try to give a good chance for my team to win every night.”
Question: It must be a tough season in Manchester, with all the injuries…
BERNIER: “It’s been really hard. We had some guys called up, and they’ve done the job. Right now, we’re not finding ways to win but we’ve just got to come focused every time and make a good push for a playoff spot.”
Question: The experience that you had in the NHL in 2007, does that help you now, in terms of knowing what to expect? Or was that too long ago?
BERNIER: “It’s been long, yeah. I don’t think so. When I was 19, my first season here, no one expected that I would be here and make the club at first, so I didn’t really have any pressure, I’d say. Right now, I’ve got to show what I can do. I think I have a little more pressure now than at 19.”
Question: Sometimes when goalies comes in, they talk to defensemen about how they like to play. Have you talked about things like that?
BERNIER: “No. We’ll talk tonight, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be similar to down in Manchester. We’ll have that talk before the game and hopefully sort things out.”