Jordan Binnington isn’t having a good week. Just ask St. Louis Blues fans.
Along with dropping all four of his starts so far in the Round Robin set and beginning of the Vancouver playoff series, Binnington is allowing a lot of goals to pass him in net. Of course, there’s more to the story, but some fans don’t want to look or even think about it. They either think Binnington is newfound trash or want Allen to take over. Take a look.
starting allen will put fire under the team and just steamroll the rest of the playoffs. who says no?— leah (@leahck55) August 15, 2020
This is not last year's Jordan Binnington.— Mark Whicker (@MWhicker03LANG) August 13, 2020
Jordan Binnington sucks.— Justin Striebel (@jstriebel22) August 15, 2020
There’s more when that came from. I get it to a certain extent. Time is running out, even though it feels like the sport just returned. The Blues have lost five games in a row. They haven’t technically won a hockey game in five months. Things are dire away from the sport and seem to be vanishing into thin air like the Avengers did at the end of “Infinity War.”
And while Binnington has that geeky “man in the chair” vibe that one could find in Marvel movies, he’s also not Captain America. He can’t win every game himself. While I added my own gasoline to the Binnington-Allen fire, I still think this is Binnington’s net. He hasn’t done enough to lose it. If you tell me he gives up too many breakaway goals and happen to think Allen will do better, I have some prime real estate on an exotic island that I bought from a shady telemarketer to sell you.
Binnington is struggling, but he hasn’t been as terrible as you think. He was nails for the whole Colorado game and could have let the Vegas game get out of hand faster than it actually did without his effort in the first 40 minutes of play. The Vancouver series hasn’t looked too sound though, unless you look past mere goals allowed. Binnington has only stopped 38 of 47 actual shots, but I don’t think he’s lost his touch. He’s still made big saves, but there have been a few ugly ones allowed, so that bends the viewpoint for people. They see duress when I see a small slump.
Remember he’s the guy who won 16 playoff games a year ago, helping carry the Blues to the promised land. He was the guy who did that, no one else. I would think that buys him the right to win or lose this Canucks series. In the past, that ride or die goalie has been Allen, and Blues fans have seen the curtain fall with him in net. Why shouldn’t Binnington get the chance to win or lose a series by himself? I like Allen’s work as a backup, but if you think he’s going to fare better behind this problematic defense, your thinking is foggy.
While I won’t mimic Shia LaBeouf in David Ayer’s “The Tax Collector” and tell you I am riding with Binnington until the wheels fall off (who does that anyway?), I will say he gets at least another start or two before I bench him. If the Blues lose with him in net, I would share zero regret about riding it out with #50. He’s earned it. Forget what he deserves. Sports don’t allow it. Binnington has earned the right to choose how his sophomore campaign ends.
I don’t think he’s nervous, but I sure hope he’s pissed off. Fans are chewing off the last bit of their remaining nails, and it’s only been two weeks. The Blues look lost on both ends of the ice, and can’t seem to comprehend the fact that the third period does count. Someone has to stop the bleeding in the net, because I wouldn’t count on the defense to suddenly snap into gear and find a rhythm. Binnington or Allen will have to win a few games on their own if this summer playoff hockey is going to continue after next week for St. Louis.
I don’t really believe in defensive fronts finding their footing all of a sudden, but I can believe in a Binnington comeback. He’s faced worse scrutiny in his career. A guy who was passed over for the next big thing for years. It was so ridiculous that at one point, the Blues lent him out to another team’s affiliate. Imagine that if you’re a young goaltender. “Hey, Joe needs some help over at his auto body shop, so we are going to weaken our staff and hand you over him to him for a day.” No big deal.
Binnington knows what it’s like to stare down adversity in the waiting room for years and seasons while other guys are being set up to be the guy. I think a couple bad nights in Edmonton will be easier to get over. I’m trusting the guy who found a way to the Cup. Someone who looked pretty solid just 3 games ago.
The Blues need to fix their overall play. For the first half of the game, they are asleep at the wheel. During the other half, they look like someone who had too much to drink at the wheel. It’s either laid-back “we’ll get there” or overzealous energy being unleashed sporadically. A new goalie won’t change that.
Binnington should, at the very least, get Game 3. If he gives up five and looks like a roasted poblano on a cold sheet of ice under his helmet after the final whistle on Sunday, you possibly go in another direction. There’s honor in that course. For the time being, you go with JB. I think Craig Berube agrees.
Let me put it this way. You should go out with your best in front of the door. Play your best players and hope they find the magic, because their ability should put them closer to that spot than most players. Binnington is a better goaltender than Allen, so the team should ride it out that way.
Those are my thoughts and you can’t have them. Enjoy the day and be safe. Listen to Chris Kerber, and wear a damn mask!