An NHL debut fit for a King - LA Kings Insider

The first installment of the Los Angeles – Anaheim rivalry this season brings to mind the season opener in 2007-08, when the two Southern California rivals opened their campaigns in London, England as part of the NHL Premiere and the Kings faced the Ducks for the first time after they had won their Stanley Cup.

In that game, Jonathan Bernier threw a wrench into the Ducks’ plans to defend their title, backstopping the Kings to a 4-1 victory as a 19-year old in his NHL debut. He earned the game’s second star by stopping 26 of 27 shots and lost his shutout bid with 6:51 to play.

Bernier was returned after four games to the QMJHL’s Lewiston MAINEiacs in 2007, but the appearance still resonates with the goaltender who would go on later that season to win a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2008 World Junior Championships.

Though he’s not expected to start tonight, Bernier spoke of his NHL debut and the Los Angeles – Anaheim rivalry.

Jonathan Bernier, on making his NHL debut against a team coming off a Cup title:
“Obviously it was a special moment for me. I think it was a little different because it was overseas, and I think that the defending champs didn’t get their rings. You know the ring at the first game and stuff like that? It was just a different atmosphere. But definitely getting my debut over there against the defending champs, plus winning that game was pretty special.”

Bernier, on whether he was thinking much about facing a Cup-winning team in his debut:
“No, I was able to block it out and just be in the zone. I was kind of lucky that summer, because Team Canada did the Super Series, so my game was already at a high level, so when I got to camp, I was really in great shape. It just carried on until that game, and then Dean made the decision to send me back down. But I felt really good, especially in training camp and going into that season.”

Bernier, on the shifting dynamics of the rivalry, now that both teams have won a Cup:
“There’s always a good little challenge every game we play against them. We’re so close from each other. I don’t know. I guess we’ll see tonight if it changes.”

Bernier, on whether playing in the Memorial Cup prepared him for his NHL debut:
“Obviously. When you win your [league’s] championship, it was pretty awesome, and then we went to the [Memorial] Cup with the best players in Canada. So that probably helped me out in dealing with pressures. Those kind of tournaments with Team Canada or winning a championship – all those things help you grow as a player, as a man. So it definitely helped me for sure.”

Rules for Blog Commenting
  • - No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • - Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other commenters, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • - Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • - Please do not discuss, or post links to, websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • - Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.
Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

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.

Jeff Carter

#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.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

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


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.