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Binnington suspended 2 games for antics vs. Wild

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St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington was suspended two games for roughing/unsportsmanlike conduct on Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced Thursday.

Binnington lost his cool after Hartman collided with him following Minnesota's fifth goal in what was ultimately an 8-5 win for the Wild. The netminder charged the Wild's celebration and threw a punch at Hartman before the officials broke up a potential goalie fight with Marc-Andre Fleury.

St. Louis' cagey goalie was assessed a two-minute penalty for leaving his crease, as well as a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

This is the first suspension of Binnington's career. The Department of Player Safety found he "recklessly" forced his way into Minnesota's celebration for the sake of "retribution," adding that his behavior wouldn't be tolerated.

Binnington said postgame that he thinks the impact of the punch was overblown and that Hartman's theatrics made it seem worse than it actually was.

"I don't think I caught (Hartman) too clean," he said, according to The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford. "He's pretty good at diving. That's his game, and that's totally fine. But that's the ref's decision, and that's fine."

The goaltender also added that he thinks it was no accident when Hartman clipped him coming through the crease.

"We know the type of player he is," Binnington said. "I actually like his game, to be honest. He plays the game hard, and I respect it, and it's no problem. (But) he knows what he's doing. He's good at it."

Binnington's antics didn't catch Hartman by surprise.

"Nothing new from him," Hartman said postgame, according to The Athletic's Joe Smith. "He's been doing stuff like that for a while."

Fleury has never been in a goalie fight in his storied NHL career, but he was fully prepared to do so in Hartman's defense Wednesday night.

"I felt that was my guy," Fleury said. "I had to take care of him."

Fleury added: "One of the guys said (Binnington) hit them in the nutsack. Can I say nutsack? Then when I saw him throw another one at our guy, that was the time."

The Wild later shared video of a mic'd-up Fleury during the incident.

Coincidentally, the Blues were celebrating Wrestling Night with special guest Ric Flair. The 74-year-old legend likely spoke for many fans when asked if he wanted to see Binnington and Fleury go at it.

Binnington has sparked controversy throughout his career. He drew headlines during last spring's playoffs for throwing a water bottle at Nazem Kadri during a postgame interview.

Earlier this season, Blues head coach Craig Berube said Binnginton needs to focus on stopping the puck rather than engaging in extracurricular antics on the ice. But he backed his No. 1 goalie this time around.

"Well, (Hartman) went right in the crease and hit Binnington, so Binner reacted, which I don't have a problem with," Berube said. "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. At that moment, what Hartman did, it's tough sometimes. I'm not going to sit here and say, 'Well, he should just take it.'"

Binnington is in the midst of a poor season statistically. He's 22-24-5 with an .892 save percentage in 52 appearances.

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