An absolute melee occurred between the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota on Wednesday night and at the very center of it was Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington. Binnington is no stranger to on or off-ice controversy and this latest ejection is just another folder in his wild filing cabinet.
Before Binnington was chucked from the game by the officiating crew, Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury challenged him to a fight that was unfortunately prevented by the refs and linesmen. We now know why Fleury was so willing to drop his equipment and take on the rampaging Binnington.
“One of the guys said that he hit them in the nuts, in the nutsack,” Fleury told The Athletic’s Joe Smith. “Can I say that, nutsack? That’s proper, right? When I saw him throw another one at our guy, that was the time.
“I felt that was my guy to take care of,” he added. “I cross the ice and take off my helmet so I think I want it. The refs were pretty quick in there and didn’t let me go – too bad.”
"I felt that was my guy, I had to take care of him.”
Marc-Andre Fleury was disappointed after he got held back from fighting Jordan Binnington in Wednesday night's game against St. Louis.pic.twitter.com/qEAmW4XuSR
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 16, 2023
Fleury was given a two-minute minor for his trouble as he left his crease and skated all the way down toward the other end to try and get a piece of Binnington. Binnington was given the same penalty as well as a five-minute match penalty (ejection) for punching the Wild’s Ryan Hartman with his blocker.
It’s the sort of business that we’re more accustomed to seeing from Ryan Reaves who skated for the Wild in the game. Reaves seemed perplexed by the entire situation, especially by Binnington’s attempt to pump up the Blues crowd after it happened.
“I don’t exactly know what he was doing,” Reaves said. “He just got buried on and took a five-minute penalty and is trying to fire up the crowd. It’s just a weird time to fire up the crowd. Appreciate the power play I guess.”
As for what Binnington was saying, Reaves has no idea. “Marbles in his mouth,” he said. “I couldn’t understand him.”
The main man at the center of the controversy, besides Binnington, was Wild forward Ryan Hartman. Ryan Hartman scored with 7:35 remaining in the second period and slightly nudged Binnington in the crease while trying to meet up with his teammates for a goal hug.
Binnington completely snapped and it’s something that Hartman says he wasn’t surprised by.
“Nothing new from him,” Hartman told Smith. “He’s been doing stuff like this for a while. He was talking to our bench five minutes leading into that. You just knew he was going to do something at some point.”
Binnington had his own thoughts on Hartman which faded in and out of being a compliment and a diss.
“We know the type of player he is,” Binnington said. “I actually like his game, to be honest. He knows what he’s doing. He’s good at it. Plays hard, maybe dives a little bit much.”
When it comes to Fleury, the very angry netminder wasn’t shocked that he was challenged to a fight by the future Hall of Famer and was a bit disappointed they weren’t allowed to throw hands.
“I’m not surprised. It kinda felt like it was our moment. I got nothing but respect for Fleury too. Obviously, he’s a legendary goalie. Coming down there shows a lot about him.”
For his troubles, Binnington is scheduled to have a hearing for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct with NHL Player Safety on Thursday.
Screenshot via @mnwild/Twitter
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