How officials evaluate the near goalie fight between Binnington, Fleury

On this edition of 32 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discuss the impending sale of the Ottawa Senators, The QMJHL's decision to ban fighting, the near- fight between Jordan Binnington and Marc-Andre Fleury, and more.

When Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury skated down the ice and challenged St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington on Thursday, fans in St. Louis thought they would have the treat of witnessing the rare goalie fight. That is, until the linesmen stepped in.

Cue the boos from the fans.

So why did the officials act so quickly to prevent fists from flying?

Speaking on the 32 Thoughts segment of Hockey Night in Canada, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that, even though both netminders were willing to have a go, risk of injury was likely too great to allow the tilt.

“I think that Fleury was injured in junior in a fight before and I think there has been real worry about what would happen if Fleury got hurt in a fight and Minnesota lost him for the playoffs,” Friedman said.

“Another thing too that was a very big factor was that both their masks were off,” he continued. “If you watch fighting now in the NHL, once a player loses his helmet, the linesmen really make moves to get in there.

“I do think the masks being off with the goaltenders was a major factor in the linesmen stepping in and breaking it up, even though we all, I think, wanted to see it.”

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The mayhem broke out on Thursday night in the second period, after Ryan Hartman scored on Binnington to put the Wild up 5-4.

After the goal, Hartman skated by the crease, bumping into Binnington on his way to celebrate. And the Blues goaltender took exception.

Binnington charged after Hartman, appearing to punch at him with his blocker, sparking a full-on line brawl. As the Blues goaltender was being ushered out of the scrum by a linesman, Wild goaltender Marc-André Fleury skated the length of the ice to join the action.

In the aftermath of the chaos, Binnington was assessed a match penalty, Fleury a two-minute minor for leaving the crease and Hartman a two-minute minor for roughing.

Binnington would receive a two-game suspension for the incident.

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