On one hand, a dynamic, hard-assed Conn Smythe Winner. The other, a focused, tight, cold-blooded goalie with a track record of proven success.
If it ain't a controversy yet, it should be soon. I can't help but wonder if that 10-year deal for a goalie who rests on the laurels of his pure, incomparable athleticism is going to cause Lombardi a lot of sleepless nights while watching Bernier stone one team after another.
What a problem to have! Do you go with the guy who you just rewarded with a retirement deal after putting up what might be the single best season in goaltending history? What if his athleticism fails him sooner than later? Is he sound enough technically to perform at the same level if he doesn't have the same reflexes? Could a lingering groin issue cost the team an entire season if you don't develop/acquire a capable back-up?
Do you go with the kid you have been grooming and drooling over for the past five years? Trust me, this job has been destined to be Bernier's for years now. The big wigs love this guy and rightfully so, but Quick never gave them the opportunity to doubt him enough to hand over the reigns - not even close. Bernier's a winner through and through. If Lombardi had any doubts about Bernier what so ever, he would have been dealt already.
Personally, up until last spring I felt that Quick was going to be the best goalie the Kings ever traded. I felt that strongly about Bernier's ability and the faith that management has in him. Then Quick goes nuts, continues his impressive play of previous years, and not only dominates, he flat-out pyschologically defeated many playoff opponents before they even shot the puck.
In my oh so humble opinion, Bernier is likely the better long term option for this team. That's not an easy statement, Quick's a beast. But if you remove the passion for his last playoff perfromance and look at it analytically, you may start to see how Bernier's positioning and demeanor let his team play a more physical, confident game in front of him. He is better suited for the teams system. He may not have the same ability to make that acrobatic, amazing game saving stop, but he does give the team the opportunity to control the pace, slow the game down to a grind, and work their game plan. He's also more likely to have a longer shelf life given his technique-over-athleticism approach to the net.
It's such a tough call and can be argued on both sides. It would take a HUGE gamble to go with Bernier given what Quick has already established, but its not a wild card, its an educated risk. What's your opinion?