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Kings Gameday: Platoon

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It's funny how wide goaltenders' eyes get when they're playing. Jason Labarbera used to crack me up because his eyes were that wide when he was on the bench. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
It's funny how wide goaltenders' eyes get when they're playing. Jason Labarbera used to crack me up because his eyes were that wide when he was on the bench. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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Next Game

Los Angeles Kings
@ Columbus Blue Jackets

Friday, Mar 11, 2011, 4:00 PM PST
Nationwide Arena

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In the last 10 games, the goalie rotation has been (going backwards):

Quick, Bernier, Quick, Bernier, Quick then Bernier, Quick, Bernier, Quick, Quick, Bernier


6 starts for Quick: 3 wins, 3.16 GAA, .89 SV%

4 stars for Bernier: 2 wins, 2.60 GAA, .912 SV%

 

Last year, if Quick had gone through his current tiny (and I mean tiny) funk, Murray would have been stuck with him and the Kings would have dealt with it; they don't need to do that this year. Quick played great coming out of the All-Star Break but then he had bad games in 4 out of 5; meanwhile, Jonathan Bernier played pretty well. So Terry Murray's showing him some appreciation by giving him a start that isn't part of a back-to-back.

This led a lot of people wondering if there was a goaltending controversy in Los Angeles but there is not. Jonathan Quick is the starter. Bernier is the back-up. Playing Bernier isn't so much about playing Bernier as it is sitting Quick on the bench. Quick knows in his head that he's the starter, but seeing Bernier get all the love and affection from the team and Murray is still going to drive him crazy. Hopefully it leads to more performances like the one against Detroit.

This road trip, Murray has stated that he's going to go Quick, Bernier, Quick, Bernier. What Murray's trying to do is kickstart Quick a little bit by giving him the impression that he's going to take his job and give it to Bernier. He won't but it doesn't hurt to give the impression. If it helps Quick rebound and play at the high level he's played at for much of the season, then great; he gets the lion's share of the starts from here on out. If it doesn't and Quick doesn't play well, then maybe Bernier gets even more starts and you go from there. It's not a goaltender controversy!!! but it's giving the hint that Murray's not afraid to make it one.

I think the next few games are going to play out like so: Bernier will play tonight, Quick in Nashville, Bernier in St. Louis, Quick in Anaheim, Quick in Calgary. Hopefully by then Quick has strung a few solid games together and he's good to go. Then everyone will think Quick earned his job back even though it never left. And the beat goes on!

Prediction: Kings win, 3-1. Rick Nash scores; Bernier calls the police and tearfully reports the offense.