St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington picked up a match penalty – and a two-game suspension – for an altercation with Ryan Hartman of the Minnesota Wild.
The incident came at 12:25 of the second period of Wednesday’s game in St. Louis. Hartman scored Minnesota’s fourth goal of the period to put the Wild up 5-4. He ran into Binnington’s outstretched leg as he skated across the top of the crease after the goal. The Blues goalkeeper took exception to the incidental contact and charged Hartman, punching him with his blocker.
It’s an automatic match penalty when a goaltender punches an opponent with the blocker. That’s covered under Rule 51:
If, in the judgment of the Referee, a goalkeeper uses his blocking glove to punch an opponent in an attempt to or to deliberately injure an opponent, a match penalty may be assessed.
Binnington. who was tossed from the game, also picked up a minor penalty for leaving the crease to join an altercation.
Blues head coach Craig Berube stuck up for his keeper’s response.
“[Hartman] went right in the crease and hit Binnington, so ‘Binner’ reacted, which I don’t really have a problem with,” Berube said. “The guy went right in there. Now I’m not going to condone hitting like he did. That’s going to be a match every time, but he’s reacting on what Hartman did.”
Hartman was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play.
Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury skated up ice to challenge Binnington, only to have his parade rained on by linesman Ryan Galloway.
“One of the guys said Binnington hit them in the nuts, in the nut sack [earlier in the game],” said Fleury. “Then when I saw him throw another one at guy, that was the time.”
Fleury was assessed a minor penalty for leaving the crease.
From the NHL:
Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington was assessed a match penalty for leaving his crease after a goal was scored and using his blocker to punch Wild forward Ryan Hartman in the face.
As the video shows, with Binnington in net, Hartman scores, a power play goal to put the Wild up 5-4. On the way to celebrate the goal with his teammates, he makes light, incidental contact with Binnington who is sliding out of his crease and towards Hartman. With the play long over and as the Wild celebrate their goal, Binnington leaves the area of his crease, approaches the unsuspecting Hartman and his teammates, raises his blocker and stick to head level, and strikes Hartman in the face with the blocker. This is roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct.
What causes this play to rise to the level of a suspension is the act of a goaltender using his blocker in this manner, the retaliatory nature of the blow, the location and force with which it lands, and the game circumstances under which it occurred. Recklessly entering an opponent’s goal celebration long after the play has ended for the purposes of seeking retribution will not be tolerated.
While Binnington has not previously been fined or suspended, his antics have certainly not gone unnoticed by the NHL or his opponents.
“It’s nothing new from him,” said Hartman. “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 leads all goaltenders with 27 penalty minutes this season. Seventeen of those came Wednesday night.
This is the second time this season a goaltender has been tossed for a blocker punch. Pheonix Copley of the Los Angeles Kings was also ejected, but not suspended, for punching Anaheim’s Frank Vatrano.
Binnington forfeits the oddly-repeating amount of $64,864.86 in salary as a result of the suspension.
The Minnesota Wild defeated the St. Louis Blues 8-2; referees for the game were Kelly Sutherland (#11) and Gord Dwyer (#19), with linesmen Ryan Galloway (#82) and David Brisebois (#96).