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Which star injury looms larger in the Avalanche-Blues series?

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Justin Cuthbert and Julian McKenzie discuss the implications after Samuel Girard and Jordan Binnington were injured in Game 3.

Video Transcript

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Last series going on right now. It is to be played tonight, game 4, so we will go a little easier on it. But there is some intrigue from this one and some storyline and some drama as well. With Colorado winning game 3 to take a 2-1 series advantage over the St. Louis Blues, they did lose Sam Girard for the rest of the playoffs after he broke his sternum on a hit-- his sternum on a hit-- from Ivan Barbashev. And then Jordan Binnington--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: That's rough.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: --is also out at least for the rest of the series, we believe, after being run into by Nazem Kadri and Calle Rosen-- Cally Rosen being his own defenseman-- in a collision happening right in front of him with a loose puck. I have no problem with what Kadri did on that play because when there's a loose puck there, you go for it and you try to put it in. And I think it was just a collision that happened and resulted in an injury for Binnington.

He will not accept that, of course, throwing a water bottle at Kadri during a TNT interview, which is just another example of Jordan Binnington being Jordan Binnington. But this series, despite losing a key player in terms of the storyline in Binnington and a very important player in Sam Girard, is a very close one. And I wonder if the loss of Girard is more important than the loss of Binnington when looking at potentially the remaining four games of this series.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: It's a good question. Because in Sam Girard's place is likely Jack Johnson, a guy who hasn't played in the playoffs--

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Yeah.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: --all to this point. And I know Avs fans know a lot about Jack Johnson, and he might not be the greatest defenseman. I think a lot of his teammates, though, will speak kind of highly of him. But I'm sure they'll put him in a situation where he's not expected to be some kind of top-pairing guy. They'll find a way to make it work with how the pairings are supposed to work out.

But I still think the way the Colorado Avalanche play, they should still be able to get the job done against a team like St. Louis, who will now have to rely on Ville Husso. And that's not to say he's not a good goalie, but I think losing a goalie who is actually playing really well compared to losing one of your defensemen, a really good defenseman in Sam Girard, I think that kind of hurts a little bit more.

I had no problem with the way that play went down with Kadri and Rosen and bumping into Binnington. Those are the playoffs. These things kind of happen all the time. It's unfortunate that Binnington got hurt. But I think for people thinking that Kadri kind of ran into him purposely, I don't think that's the case. I think he was even-- I don't even think he was necessarily trying to go into Binnington until Rosen bumped Kadri.

And then for Jordan Binnington to throw that water bottle after the fact, I think that's classless. I think it's just another sign of the fake tough guyness that we've seen from Jordan Binnington. Let's call a spade a spade. When he's throwing these hissy fits and pouting on the ice and acting as if he's going to match up against somebody, considering the history we've seen in this league with goalies going at it with each other, Jordan Binnington isn't impressing anybody. I mean, that's how I see it.

And maybe it's a little harsh or maybe it's coming from a guy's character. But I just-- look, we see it. I don't think it's that great. And then to go at Nazem Kadri the way that he did, throwing a water bottle when he's doing an interview. Like you could-- why not just wait till the interview is done, talk to him, take him aside, and be like, hey, dude I didn't like what you did. One, that's mature. Two, that's a better way of going about it, you know?

You could still be angry and still feel he might have done something. I know Craig Berube seems to think that Kadri's reputation precedes him. And it sucks that Kadri's suspension history does follow him that way, but I see why people will throw that in his face. But it's just-- your response to that is to just kind of throw a water bottle from whatever distance while a guy is clearly not paying attention to you doing an interview. I don't like that at all.

If I was a player in the Colorado Avalanche room, I would not like that. Because I just feel like my own player would be getting targeted needlessly. It would also just be like-- it's kind of soft. You don't feel to do that while he's able to look at you in the face, so you feel you can just do that when he's not paying attention to you? I think that's pretty classless.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: I mean, yeah, it's classless. It's petulant. But the thing is--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: It's very childish.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Petulant Jordan Binnington is the best goaltender that the St. Louis Blues have, I think. When he is in this really strange world that he lives in where he's waving sticks and throwing water bottles and having a hissy fit and, as you said, being a fake tough guy, it seems to be when he plays his best hockey. And so he is a loss for the St Louis Blues, I think, in this series. Of course, Ville Husso took over the starter's role for him in the regular season and showed that he can be a capable goaltender. But I feel more confident if I'm a St. Louis Blues fan in Binnington, if available, than Husso at this moment.

So I do think it's a loss for St. Louis, but I think the Sam Girard loss is pretty big as well, despite the fact it's probably Bowen Byram being promoted to the second unit to play with Josh Manson. And Bowen Byram is an immense talent, too, and sort of a similar player. I would worry about that bottom pairing, the Johnson and Johnson pairing. Maybe not the best shot for the Colorado Avalanche, but--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: I think they've at least played together.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: They have played together, and I don't think the results are necessarily that great. But, I mean, that means maybe more Devon Toews and Cale Makar, which like it's been in Edmonton, more of a good thing usually leads to a good result. I don't know how sustainable that might be.

But Sam Girard lost for the postseason is a huge blow to Colorado's chances of winning the Stanley Cup in such an important season where they have to think about winning the Stanley Cup. Because there might be a new power in the Western Conference next year with so many different contracts that need to be signed and probably a pretty significant loss of talent in Colorado.

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