ST. LOUIS – The NHL Department of Player Safety has planned a hearing over Jordan Binnington’s actions Wednesday in the St. Louis Blues’ loss to the Minnesota Wild.
Binnington was ejected from Wednesday’s game after allowing a go-ahead goal to Minnesota’s Ryan Hartman. Moments after Hartman scored the goal, Binnington shoved him down to the ice, striking him with his left-handed goalie pad and stick.
After Hartman fell down, it appeared Binnington was trying to push a few more Wild players, though both teams and a referee quickly entered the scrum and the situation deescalated. Binnington’s helmet flew off amid the tussle.
While that unfolded, Minnesota goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury rushed toward the Blues zone rather aggressively and put himself in a position to potentially drop gloves with Binnington. The referee crew also stopped the goalies from throwing punches at one another.
In the aftermath, Binnington was assessed a two-minute minor and five-minute major for roughing, and an unsportsmanlike conduct offense for the scrum. His night ended nearly halfway through the game.
Blues head coach Craig Berube, defending his goaltender, claims that Hartman went right to the crease as he scored and made contact with Binnington.
“Binner reacted, which I don’t have a problem with,” said Berube in postgame comments. The guy went right in there. I’m not going to condone hitting like he did. That’s a match every time. But he’s reacting on what Hartman did.”
Binnington agreed with that assessment of what unfolded.
“It was a hard game. They’re a tough team to play against. They’re hard around the net. I felt, it gets to a certain point, goals are going in, so it’s frustrating, so I felt that was the moment,” said Binnington.
As for Hartman, Binnington offered this perspective.
“We know what type of player that he is. I actually like his game. He plays the game hard, and I respect it. That’s no problem, but that’s kind of how it played out.”
Teammates didn’t seem to have a problem with Binnigton’s response to the go-ahead goal either.
“You just would’ve loved to see it. Binner vs. Marc-Andre Fleury,” said alternate captain Brayden Schenn. “If you’re looking for viewership and ratings and people talking about the game, that’s one way to do it.”
Binnington had drawn some negative reception from non-Blues hockey fans in recent seasons from similar antics. Two seasons ago, Binnington tried to spark the Blues as he was being pulled from a high-scoring affair against the San Jose Sharks. He shoved on skater with a stick, similar to Wednesday’s incident, and tried to engage with Sharks goaltender Devin Dubnyk with stick-to-stick contact.
Just last season, as he was removed from a playoff game against the Colorado Avalanche over injury concerns, Binnington threw a water bottle at forward Nazem Kadri.
In an early December game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Binnington extended his arm against Jason Zucker as the Penguins rolled to an early lead against the Blues, leading to an abrupt collision against the boards. Binnington also received a 10-minute penalty for “incitement,” rather than game misconduct. Following that game, Berube noted that Binnington antics have “got to stop.”
Binnington is dealing with a frustrating 2022-23 season on top of that, sporting a 22-24-5 record with a 3.32 goals against average and .892 save percentage. The later two metrics are well below his career averages with St. Louis. With a hearing looming, Binnington is at risk of a possible suspension.
The Blues dropped Wednesday’s game, a much-later start than usual for TNT broadcast reasons, by a score of 8-4 and have dropped 10 of their 13 last games.