It has been a while since I have written anything, because we all know what the Maple Leafs season is going to be like and for the West Coast Kings followers, well this season is Stanley Cup Finals or bust.
But here we go again with the Leafs in goal. James Reimer gets his goal back, plays out of his mind for two weeks and all of a sudden we got a win streak going for a team who really isnt going to win too many games. But back comes Jonathan Bernier. More amateur goals allowed. More sleepwalking. Win streak over.
If James Reimer hadn't been so busy in the third period Saturday night, he could have perhaps been back in there tonight in New York against the Eastern Conference heavyweight Rangers. And I think the Leafs could have pulled off another victory, let alone earning at least one point.
Once again, this game must fall on the goaltender and again it is Jonathan Bernier displaying more reasons why he cannot be a starter in this league let alone an NHL calibre goaltender.
A lot of you have bashed my Bernier-hating rants in the past, mainly because the Leafs have been a very poor defensive team with little or no structure. But this team has been much tougher on the ice and I think they have caught some teams off guard as not being such an easy team to play against in most games this year, especially in November so far.
Tonight, Bernier allows a game tying goal after his team begins with a strong opening 20 minutes, a flipper from center ice right between the legs. Then the go ahead third goal by the Rangers, when Bernier once again played Mats Zuccarello's pass lazily and was beaten by a tap in front of the net. Then the final goal, another poor effort by Bernier with the game tied and heading to overtime in all fairness, kicks a very harmless shot right to an incoming Ranger (Zuccarello again) for the game winner. Might as well just give the game to the other team instead of starting Jonathan Bernier.
Is it really that difficult for the Maple Leafs brass with all those brilliant minds to determine the value and evaluate this lazy loser effectively?
Since last season, I said that the Calgary Flames are the best trading partner for the Maple Leafs given all the big young centers they possess and have had trouble finding ice time for all of them. Plus, they are not happy with their goaltending either. I have also said that Bernier would be better off playing goal for a Western team instead of in the East against quicker, more run and gun type of teams. I still think the game is a little bit slower and zone to zone in the West with teams like the Kings, Wild, Jets, Blues, Ducks, and Predators. Playing against those teams was one reason why Bernier had some success behind Jonathan Quick, but playing with the Kings was also a big help. Since coming over to Toronto, we have seen nothing but struggle with Bernier and allowing way too many awful goals at awful times. And once again it happens tonight after we see James Reimer battle his butt off for two weeks and actually the team starts winning some games. In comes Bernier, who cannot win a game to save his life for the team, loses again due to more awful goals against.
A few weeks ago, the Flames were looking to move both Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo. At this point, I don't mind the Leafs giving Reimer his net back again after the big mistake following the 2013 season in the deal with the Kings taking Reimer's net away and basically handing the number one job to the Kings' backup.
Three seasons later, we are still in the mess of watching Jonathan Bernier almost single handedly losing games for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Why not speculate into a trade involving the Flames and Leafs? I would gladly take either Hiller or Ramo (who I know has bad numbers, but I always see this guy battle similar to Bernier) and maybe Josh Jooris or one of their big young centers for Bernier. Of course, I dont care if the clubs get deeper and maybe involve a Tyler Bozak or James van Reimsdyk in the deal for more youthful assets that Toronto doesn't have, particularly bigger, stronger gritty forwards.
But one thing is for certain...I have had ENOUGH of Jonathan Bernier in a Maple Leaf uniform. Move him now while you still can.