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Siegel: Bernier injury not thought to be serious; status unknown

Jonas Siegel, TSN 1050
3/15/2014 3:16:54 PM
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ARLINGTON, VA – Jonathan Bernier remained off the ice Saturday afternoon as his teammates practiced at the Kettler IcePlex just outside of the D.C. area.

His immediate status for the surging Leafs isn't quite clear at this point, though his situation is not believed to be serious. The 25-year-old left his long-awaited return to Los Angeles after just 20 minutes Thursday evening – his team rallying for a 3-2 win – unable to continue because of a nagging lower-body injury.

Kept off the ice on Saturday – following a travel day on Friday – Bernier opted for two rounds of treatment on the ailment and may require an MRI to make certain that the injury is not serious.

"Bernier's still feeling the effects of the injury the other night, said head coach Randy Carlyle of the undisclosed issue following practice. "We don't think it's that severe, but you'd always like to make sure that you are making the right decision there."

Carlyle said it had yet to be determined whether Bernier would indeed go for the MRI and whether he would be able to acquire the image in the Washington area or would require a trip back to Toronto. He won't play against the Capitals, though, in a Sunday matinee at the Verizon Center. That challenge will instead go to James Reimer, who was brilliant with 31 saves in Bernier's place against the Kings.

Superb in his first season with the Leafs, Bernier had been bothered by the injury before his return start in L.A. – he was "stiff" according to Carlyle – but felt well enough to give it a go opposite his former team.

Sliding across his crease for one particular save in a first frame that saw the Kings jump out to a 2-0 lead – perhaps the extended right pad stop on Anze Kopitar – Bernier "didn't feel good" and opted to come out.

He was replaced by Reimer, who guided the Leafs to their 15th win in the past 22 games.

"We felt comfortable putting Reims in and, obviously, the way he played, he shut them out the rest of the way, you can't complain about that, that's for sure," said Carlyle.

While hoping that the injury isn't serious, the Leafs aren't certain when Bernier will return.

Capturing wins in Anaheim and L.A., they have three games remaining on a season-long five-game road trip. Certainly out against Washington on Sunday, Carlyle wouldn't rule out a return for Bernier in Detroit, though, that would seem unlikely at this point given his inability to take the ice Saturday.

The team recalled Drew MacIntyre from the Marlies to be the backup against Washington.

Bernier was unavailable for comment.

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