Jordan Binnington is one of the NHL’s streakiest goalies but when he’s at the top of his game, he can reach a gear that few of his peers can match. Unfortunately, Binnington is becoming better known for his constant on-ice antics — and even his own team is getting sick of it.
Binnington has been prone to fits of rage throughout his NHL career but he’s acting up far more frequently than usual this season. He’s been in terrible form as of late and took his frustrations out on Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jason Zucker during Saturday’s 6-2 loss.
After allowing three goals during the first period, Binnington clipped Zucker dangerously as the Penguins forward circled the net. Zucker crashed into the boards and was slow to get up, but remained in the contest.
Binnington wasn’t penalized but Zucker would get the last laugh.
Zucker returned to the contest and with some additional motivation, sniped one past Binnington — a goal that the Blues’ goaltender should’ve stopped — chasing him from the game. The embarrassment of getting hooked would usually be enough to stop any temper tantrum, but Binnington had other ideas. Upon being pulled from the game, Binnington skated by the Penguins’ bench and attempted to taunt Zucker, who was merely bemused and didn’t comment on the incident post-game, and the Blues’ goaltender was issued a 10-minute misconduct penalty for his actions.
Binnington has always been regarded as a pest to opponents, but he’s now clearly getting on the nerves of his own head coach.
Binnington has been a microcosm of the Blues’ season. The last time we checked in, Binnington and the Blues appeared to be turning the page, rattling off a seven-game win streak with the 29-year-old’s stellar play as the central reason why. Since the streak was snapped on Nov. 23, however, Binnington’s form has fallen off a cliff once again, allowing 21 goals in his past five starts, all losses.
There’s an apparent correlation between Binnington’s attitude and the team’s win-loss record. He simply melts down at the first sign of adversity and he’s attempting to injure players with increased frequency. This is what he attempted against Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal on last week — a move that didn't turn out well for the Blues tendy.
Binnington has the talent to be one of the NHL’s best goalies. At this moment, he’s proving to be little more than a sideshow that can easily be laughed off, while the Blues continue to be the NHL’s most erratic, inconsistent team by some distance.
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