In an interview with Tim Micallef and Sid Seixeiro of Sportsnet 590 The Fan in Toronto on Thursday, Jonathan Bernier admitted to being “pretty miserable” in Los Angeles.
Bernier, on “how badly” he would like to see his workload increase:
“The one thing I can tell you is that I was pretty miserable in L.A…Like, Tim [Leiweke] told me, ‘That was the first time I’ve seen you smile since we won the Cup.’ It was really hard. Obviously I play hockey to play games and not only practice. Finally I’ll get a chance to prove and hopefully play some back-to-back games and get in a groove.”
Bernier, on whether he had an “emptier feeling” over not playing as much as he’d have liked:
“Yeah. Obviously when you’re in the moment, I think every player wants to play. But at the end of the day, I’m still on the Cup and contributed in a way that made the team better in practice, and obviously I played some games this season. That’s the way you’ve got to look at it, and obviously I had the best seat in the house.”
It wasn’t exactly breaking news that Bernier would have preferred more playing time and was hoping for an outside opportunity that would provide that. If he was “pretty miserable,” he hid his frustrations quite well and never appeared to be a distraction or a detriment to the energy in the room. It wasn’t an easy position that the former 11th overall draft pick found himself in, and from my encounters with him and the team, he appeared to handle it with class and aplomb. Though the “pretty miserable” comment is a bit jarring, here’s to hoping Bernier finds a greater peace of mind in Toronto, which surely feels like a challenge on the surface given the heavier media presence in Ontario than in Southern California.