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KINGS FYI

Bill Ranford subs for absent Jonathan Bernier at Kings practice

Assistant coach was filling in for the backup goalie, who had been home after the death of his grandmother. Bernier was set to rejoin the team Wednesday night.

March 27, 2013|By Lisa Dillman

ST. LOUIS — Jake Allen, Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott

How about the Kings countering with Jonathan Quick, Jonathan Bernier … and Bill Ranford?

"Hey, St. Louis is carrying three goalies. We are too," Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said, joking.

Ranford, the 46-year-old Kings assistant coach, was pressed into goalie duty during the Kings' practice at Scottrade Center on Wednesday because of backup goalie Bernier's absence.

Bernier has been home in Canada following the death of his grandmother. His absence at the White House ceremony Tuesday and at practice set off a brief flurry on social media, whipping up trade speculation before it became clear why he was missing.

The goalie has been the subject of more trade rumors possibly than any other Kings player. Unlike other cycles involving Bernier rumors, currently there is less legitimate talk about a possible trade.

Bernier was scheduled to rejoin the Kings on Wednesday night. That means this was a one-day gig for the former NHL goalie Ranford, who won a Stanley Cup title with the Edmonton Oilers in 1990 and the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff most valuable player.

"He was all right. A couple of soft ones," Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi said, joking.

Another Conn Smythe winner, Quick, and Sutter were watching Ranford later. Considering the way goaltending has changed, it was almost as if they were examining a rare species.

"Quick and I were standing there after, watching," Sutter said. "It's funny how the game changes and the style of the goalies, how they play. He looks good. He was a top goalie, right?"

Sutter made sure to check on how Ranford was faring.

"I kept wanting to ask him if he was getting hot, because you're worried about overheating. I wasn't interested in giving him mouth-to-mouth," Sutter said.

Thursday

AT ST. LOUIS

When: 5 PDT.

Where: Scottrade Center.

Record vs. Blues: 2-0.

On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 1150.

Etc.: It has been crisis mode for the struggling Blues, who have lost three of their last four games, forcing Coach Ken Hitchcock to hold a lengthy meeting with team leaders. That came Tuesday night after a 3-0 loss to the Oilers. Jaroslav Halak is expected to start against the Kings.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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