Jonathan Bernier missed the ceremony honoring the Kings at the White House yesterday, and missed practice today. Now we know why.
This afternoon, Jon Rosen of the LA Kings Insider reported Bernier's absence and that goalie coach Bill Ranford suited up in his place. (The Kings traveled to St. Louis yesterday, but they don't play until tomorrow.)
Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times quelled the surge in deadline rumors when she confirmed that Bernier had not been traded, but instead was away because of a family matter.
The 24-year-old netminder has been part of the rumor mill for years, and this season is no different. He is most often mentioned as a piece the Calgary Flames would like in exchange for a Jarome Iginla rental. However, while Quick has struggled to regain consistency after his back surgery, Bernier has stepped up and played a bigger role on the team, posting better stats in the process. Last week, Lombardi stated that Bernier's importance would make it difficult to listen to offers.
I notice that the trip to Washington, D.C. was the closest the Kings have traveled to Bernier's hometown of Laval, Quebec this season. Update: Bernier's grandmother has passed away. Our condolences to him and his family.