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10-19-2013, 01:02 AM
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vCash: 500 Trading Jonathan Bernier still bothers Kings' GM

"It doesnít surprise me at all," Lombardi told Friday. "We knew this guy. After the trade, he sent me a text to thank me for trading him. I replied back, 'I just wish I could have been Glen Sather and had Moog and Fuhr but that is impossible today.'"

In Lombardiís dream scenario, Jonathan Quick and Bernier would play their careers together in L.A. and give the Kings the best one-two punch in the NHL for a decade, as the 1980s Oilers had with Grant Fuhr and Andy Moog. But reality dictated otherwise. In the salary cap era with Bernierís contract coming up this past summer, Lombardi knew he couldnít keep both. He also knew Bernier had grown tired of his secondary role in L.A. and there was no way the Kings could ever placate the young goalieís needs behind Quick, a Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup winner signed to a long-term deal.

So Lombardi promised Bernier a deal and he delivered, but the trade remains difficult for the Kings GM to stomach.

"I donít think any general manager wants to be in that position where you have to trade a player and heís a really good player," Lombardi said.

"What makes this tough is that itís procedural, you have to move him, itís not even a hockey deal, youíre looking for an asset deal."

What made it worse for Lombardi is that he doesnít feel other NHL teams fully realized Bernierís potential and value.

"You've got something that's valuable that you have to move, but the market doesnít recognize it," Lombardi said.

"[Toronto GM] Dave Nonis was really the only one who was seriously interested in him. Everyone else was just tire-kicking. I was shocked at the lack of real interest. He had proven himself again last season. The other reason I think people overlook Bernier is because he is small; they overlook his hockey sense, which is his best asset.

"I give Nonis a lot of credit. A week after he got the [GM] job [in Toronto], he was all over Bernier."

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