Goalies are a different sort of breed in the locker room. Many come with their own unique set of quirks or routines. Some can be quite forthcoming and candid, while others make sure that their dialed-in persona on the ice carries over when off the sheet as well.
But playing a position in which a game, series and potential championship can hinge on one split-second stop or miscue unites all netminders in one regard: Not too much rattles these players — regardless of if it’s a vulcanized piece of rubber fired in from the slot or a flurry of questions tossed at them during a media scrum.
If some goalies come off as robotic in terms of how they carry themselves both on and off the ice, then Blues rookie Jordan Binnington might as well be a T-1000. He might not say much, but he’s awfully effective at what he does best — and it’s helped St. Louis carve out a path to a Stanley Cup Final rematch against the Boston Bruins.
Tied 0-0 in the third period against a division rival at home in a huge game.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) February 27, 2019
Despite playing in only 32 games this season, Binnington was tabbed as a well-deserved finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy — given annually to the top rookie in the league — due in large part to his efforts in turning the Blues’ season around.
A call-up back in mid-December, Binnington did not become St. Louis’ go-to option in net until the start of January, with the Blues sitting dead last in the NHL standings at the time. But from Jan. 2 through the end of the regular season, St. Louis has been the hottest team in the league, going 30-10-5 down the stretch to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Binnington has led the charge in net for the Blues, going 24-5-1 over the final four months of the regular season while generating a league-leading 1.89 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.
He hasn’t let up in the postseason, either — becoming just the sixth netminder in NHL history to win at least 12 playoff games in a rookie campaign, while boasting a .914 save percentage and a shutout.
The first-year pro’s remarkable run has fueled St. Louis’ march toward the Stanley Cup Final — and clubs are still laboring when it comes to getting the rookie to crack under pressure.
So far, Binnington hasn’t flinched — to say the least.
i know you've all been waiting for this:
the extremely passionate reaction from jordan binnington as the clock hits zero in game six to send the blues to the stanley cup final ... pic.twitter.com/nurZtIFDhs
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) May 22, 2019
Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton knows firsthand how hard it is to rattle a guy like Binnington.
After all, the pair were teammates with the Providence Bruins for all of last year.