Another opportunity for Bernier " LA Kings Insider
MURRAY: "Both goalies are good. Bernier had a shutout the other night. I think his game has really stepped up here, from the start of the year. With (games) every second day, coming through this month, very intense games and both goalies playing well like they are, it’s a great opportunity to use those guys on a rotation, right now, that’s going to get us through to the end, when I have to make a decision (as) to what we’re going to do."
At the beginning of the year, Murray announced his ("in pencil") goalie plan to have Jonathan Quick start 55-60 games and have Jonathan Bernier start the rest. With 17 games left, Quick has 48 GP, and Bernier, 20, which means he's stuck to his plan. If they split those 2 for Quick, 1 for Bernier, that would leave Quick with 59 GP and Bernier with 26. However, the word "rotation" usually means a strict trading off, with each goalie starting every other game, doesn't it? The context -- with Murray cognizant of what happened this time last year; and with Murray calling this a "great opportunity" to get a rotation going -- suggests that's exactly what he's talking about.
Last March, of course, Bernier was undefeated in three games while Quick played horribly. Murray played Bernier every chance he got, but it wasn't much because Bernier was up on emergency loan. Once Erik Ersberg was back, Murray rode Quick hard, and the results were not good. I would think Murray would do just about anything to avoid burning Quick out this time around.
I could be misreading the quote. And even if I'm not, he can change his mind at any minute.
The other thing is that last subordinate clause (in bold above), where Murray references having to make a decision once we get to "the end." Hammond's interpretation was that he was talking about the last few games of the regular season. I read it as though he were talking about the playoffs. Nobody takes a rotation into the post-season. And it would be weird to trade off games for a couple of weeks and then let the #1 play out the rest of the regular season. That's when you usually give your back-up a few games, let your #1 guy rest.
It sounds to me very much like he's saying, you guys have 8 or 9 games each to make your case, and the better goalie will get the call in round one. That's a very different strategy than he employed last year, where he just dug in on the idea of Quick as the #1 even when most of the free world could see he was spent.
Or, I could be projecting my own beliefs onto him. Wouldn't be the first time.