New York Hockey: Steve Bernier

Devils not blaming Bernier

June, 13, 2012
NEWARK, N.J. -- Just as they did following their season-ending loss to the Kings in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals on Monday, the Devils rallied around teammate Steve Bernier and absolved him of any guilt in the team's devastating defeat.

It was Bernier's five-minute boarding major for a hit on Rob Scuderi that preceded three power-play goals for the Kings and a 3-0 hole for the Devils.

"I have no second thoughts on him whatsoever," general manager Lou Lamoriello said Wednesday. "I'm just so proud of the way he handled it after the game and what he said. Absolutely not his fault under any circumstances. Could've been any player on the ice."

After the game -- a 6-1 Devils loss that allowed the Kings to clinch their first title -- Bernier patiently answered waves of questions about his miscue rather than duck out and head for the team bus.

Lamoriello agreed that the hit deserved to be penalized, but vouched for Bernier as an honest player.

"To me, that was a penalty, unfortunately," Lamoriello said. "And in all fairness to Bernier -- who had a great year for us, he played great -- those things could’ve happened to any player. That type of situation, the way that rule is, a player turns -- he was doing his job. His job is to finish, his job is to take the body, which he did consistently."

Coach Pete DeBoer echoed a similar sentiment and praised the 27-year-old winger's contributions as a member of the team's productive, high-energy fourth line that was phenomenal during the postseason.

"Steve was just doing what we asked him to do and what he was very effective in doing the entire playoffs -- get in on the forecheck and finish a hit," he said. "I have no negative feelings towards that play."

Bernier, who after the game said he wished he could take the play back, sounded grateful for the support he has received from coaches, teammates and fans alike. He was particularly touched to see the crowd of fans waiting in the rain Tuesday when the Devils' plane arrived home in Newark.

"It was extremely hard that night, but right now it's back to feeling good," he said. "When I saw the fans yesterday cheering and stuff, that helps in a way. I've put it behind me."

Rapid Reaction: Kings 6, Devils 1

June, 11, 2012

Recap | Box score | Photos

What it means: The Devils' season came to an end with a 6-1 loss to the Kings in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals on Monday night, and no one will feel worse about it than New Jersey fourth-liner Steve Bernier.

Bernier's first-period hit on defenseman Rob Scuderi led to a five-minute Kings power play that resulted in three goals in the span of 3:58. The Devils rallied back from a 3-0 series deficit to fuel their long-shot comeback hopes against the dominant Kings, but they couldn't recover from the spirit-sapping, three-goal hole at Staples Center.

Rookie Adam Henrique scored the Devils' lone goal, but the Kings scored twice more late in the third period for the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

Bad move by Bernier: Bernier's reckless hit midway through the first period will likely go down as one of the most infamous moments in Devils history. The Kings went on to score three goals on the five-minute power play awarded after Bernier crushed Scuderi into the boards 10:10 into play and earned himself a five-minute boarding major and automatic game misconduct.

Kings captain Dustin Brown got his team on the board with a tip-in at 11:03 and Jeff Carter made it 2-0 with a deflection less than two minutes later. Trevor Lewis added a third goal for a 3-0 lead that sent the Staples Center crowd into a frenzy at 15:01.

Although he remained down on the ice for several minutes and left the game with a bloodied face, Scuderi returned to begin the second period.

Carter's coronation: Carter rattled off his second goal of the night with a wrister from the slot that beat Brodeur for a staggering 4-0 Kings lead at 1:30. The 27-year-old center, a crucial trade-deadline acquisition for the Kings in February, finished with eight goals during the dominant Cup run.

Captain America: Brown became the first American-born captain to win the Stanley Cup since Derian Hatcher hoisted the trophy for the Dallas Stars in 1999. Brown's power-play marker was his first goal of the series.

Long night for Brodeur: After outshining Quick in Games 4 and 5, Brodeur's phenomenal playoff performance came to a bitter end as the Kings poured on six goals in their Cup-clinching victory. According to ESPN Stats and Info, it was only the second time in his playoff career that he has surrendered three or more power-play goals.

Missed call: Only seconds before Bernier's game-changing hit, fellow fourth-liner Stephen Gionta got hammered into the bench by Jarret Stoll, a hit the Devils bench believed warranted a call. Stoll received no penalty on the play. The Devils also appeared livid that a collision between linesman Pierre Racicot and defenseman Anton Volchenkov interfered with play on Carter's second-period goal.

Fourth-line fallout: The Devils' heart-and-soul fourth line was the story once again, but for all the wrong reasons. With Bernier already tossed from the game, Ryan Carter was slapped with a two-minute roughing penalty and 10-minute misconduct for taking down Jonathan Quick during the second period. Later in the frame, Gionta was struck him in the face by Petr Sykora's shot, although he remained in the game.