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They Should Have Let Marc-Andre Fleury Beat Up Jordan Binnington

ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 15: Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Minnesota Wild attempts to get physical with Jordan Binnington #50 of the St. Louis Blues but is stopped by linesman Dan Kelly #98 at the Enterprise Center on March 15, 2023 in St. Louis, Missouri.
oe Puetz/NHLI via Getty Images

The goalie fight is a treasured spectacle in hockey, not only because it is fun to watch two guys who don't really know how to fight attempt to beat each other up while wearing tremendous pads, but also because it is rare. Opposing goalies are naturally quite far away from each other during a game, and thus something truly crazy has to happen in order for them to meet in physical combat.

Wild goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been in the NHL for almost 20 damn years now, and he has yet to have himself a fight. This appears to be weighing on him a bit. During a 5-2 win over the Sharks last weekend, Fleury got into it with Evgeny Svechnikov, which, as the hockey code of conduct demands, got Sharks goalie James Reimer up to the blue line, apparently ready to drop the gloves and take on his counterpart. Nothing came of that, but it seems an idea was planted in Fleury's head. "Yeah, he gave me a little shrug," Fleury said after the game. "I don’t know. I wouldn’t mind it [...] I kind of want [a fight]. But it’s not the right time to fool around."

On Wednesday night, it was time to fool around. In the second period of the Wild's 8-5 win over the St. Louis Blues, the Wild found themselves being attacked by Blues goalie Jordan Binnington right after taking a 5-4 lead. Binnington got lightly clipped by Wild center Ryan Hartman as he began to celebrate his goal, and then started taking cheap shots.

Imagine how lucky Fleury must have felt watching that all unfold at the other end of the ice. There he was, having just a few days ago missed what probably felt like his last opportunity to get into a goalie fight, now being presented with the most ideal circumstances under which to drop the gloves. Not only was the opposing goalie going psycho mode on his teammates, that opposing goalie was Jordan Binnington, one of the league's biggest weenies. You couldn't script a better opening for a goalie fight.

And yet, when Fleury shed his gloves and his mask and zipped across the ice to face Binnington, he was rudely intercepted by the officials, who refused to let the fight happen. Preventing violence is a noble act indeed, but what of preventing an old man from achieving a dream? Sometimes you just gotta let the boys fight!

Binnington was ejected from the game, and tried to (annoyingly) pump up the crowd as he left the ice, which was a curious choice for a guy who had just been humiliated in several different ways. Wouldn't it have been much nicer to watch this guy get punched a few times?

If there's a silver lining to the fight-that-wasn't, it can be found in some of the Wild's postgame quotes. Here is Fleury explaining why he decided to try to initiate the fight: "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."

You can say "nutsack" all you want, Flower.

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