Jonathan Bernier’s sports hernia injury is severe enough to require surgery, and he will be sidelined for the next two to three weeks, according to various reports.
Does This Even Matter?
I know what your first reaction is, and it’s something along the lines of “the season is over, who cares, Shut Up Jeffler”. In some respects, that’s the correct way of approaching things. But while it’s the end of the road for the Leafs, it’s not the end of the road for eliminated players. Bernier, of course, had a stellar year statistically, and was a likely candidate to head to Korea for the World Championships.
Other potential candidates, if I had to guess, include Braden Holtby, Mike Smith, Roberto Luongo, Cam Ward, Martin Brodeur, and Ben Scrivens. Of all of those, only Scrivens is in the same realm in terms of recent performance, both being the only goalies above a 0.920 save percentage (0.923 for Bernier, 0.922 for Scrivens). Some “brand name” conversation would have went down, but ultimately, Bernier had the best year of any available Canadian starting goalie.
I’m sure some of you are rolling your eyes and saying “hey, we’d rather have him recover”. In a sense, I agree, but even at 25 years old, he’s still inexperienced enough to be considered “developing”. Tournaments like this are huge for that, especially if you get the lion’s share of the minutes. It wouldn’t be his first time either; he played three games in 2010/11, along with WJC and U-18 appearances prior.
But who knows. Maybe a healthy Bernier would have rejected the spot, or got passed over. Either way, it would have been cool.
Beyond the tournament, it’s also good to know exactly what the issue is and that it’s not going to be the end of the world. Two to three weeks out of commission would have been steep during the season, but gets him back to training and recovery before the playoffs ends for some teams.