Mizutani: Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Jordan Binnington was the goalie fight we deserved
The rivalry between the Wild and the Blues reached new heights on Wednesday night at Enterprise Center in St. Louis
ST. LOUIS — Marc-Andre Fleury decided enough was enough. After watching from afar while St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington lost his mind, Fleury instinctively left his crease, made a beeline across the ice and casually started removing his equipment once he got to the other end.
“I felt that was my guy,” Fleury explained to reporters after the game. “I had to take care of him.”
The moment had been building throughout the rivalry matchup between the Minnesota Wild and the Blues on Wednesday night at Enterprise Center in St. Louis.
It started with Fleury learning that Binnington had taken a whack at a teammate’s nether regions early in the game. Then came Fleury having to watch Binnington chirp the Wild bench after Minnesota scored a goal. The last straw was Fleury seeing Binnington take a swing at Ryan Hartman.
No longer could Fleury stand idly by while Binnington continued to take liberties. He had to do something about it. So, Fleury skated the length of the ice, tapped Binnington to get his attention, then prepared for the first fight of his career.
The kindest person imaginable off the ice, Fleury looked right at home as he dropped his gloves, removed his helmet, slicked back his hair, and rolled up his sleeves.
This was his moment. Nearly 20 years in the making.
“It’s old-school hockey,” Wild coach Dean Evason said with a smile. “It looked familiar to me.”
Just as Fleury was about to pounce on Binnington, though, the referees jumped in, robbing the world of the goalie fight it deserved. As the crowd roared, Fleury pleaded with the referees to let him go, while Binnington tried his best to shake free of their grasp.
“It would’ve been fun,” Fleury said. “I tried to help my teammate and throw a couple of punches. The crowd was up on their feet. That was pretty cool.”
Eventually, the moment passed, with Fleury getting a minor for leaving his crease; Binnington got the same plus a match penalty for attacking Hartman with his blocker.
Asked postgame if he was disappointed he didn’t get to fight, Fleury smiled and responded, “A little bit.” He talked earlier this week about wanting to get into a fight at some point before his career is over.
“I was giving him a couple of tips before the game,” Wild forward Ryan Reaves said with a laugh. “I wish the refs would’ve let him go there. It would’ve been nice to see. But I guess it’s good to keep Fleury’s hands in order.”
That’s true. Especially with the way Fleury has been rolling. Though he didn’t get to fight, Fleury still got the win, improving to 6-0-0 over his past six starts with a 1.98 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage.
“I’m happy we got the win,” Fleury said. “That was the main thing we were here for.”
This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.