Jordan Binnington’s collision with Nazem Kadri, which ended Binnington’s season, may have been a turning point in the Blues-Avalanche series, and it took on a new dimension after the game when Binnington threw an empty plastic water bottle at Kadri while he did a postgame interview.
On Tuesday, Binnington gave his explanation as to what happened.
“So I went to get my knee checked out in-game,” he said, “I was coming back to the rink, the game just ended, walking down the hallway, couldn’t find a recycling bin on my way down the hallway and right before I walked into the locker room I see him kind of doing the interview there, smiling, laughing and I’m there in a knee brace cleaning down the hallway.
“I felt like it was a God-given opportunity. I don’t know, I could stay silent and go in the room or I could say something and have him look me in the eye and understand what’s going on, something to think about. I threw the water bottle, an empty water bottle, it landed like two feet from him. It is what it is there.
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“I mean, but it is what it is, it’s hockey, it’s a competitive game.”
While Binnington wouldn’t say whether or not he would have been playing in the conference finals had the Blues gotten that far, coach Craig Berube said if there was a Game 7 with Colorado, Torey Krug would have played and he almost played in Game 6 .
“If it was up to Kruger he would’ve played that game,” Berube said. “It was a tough call. Yeah, with his injury and stuff like that and with (Marco) Scandella’s injury — I did not want to go seven D. It was tough. He was ready. He could’ve played probably. But I didn’t think it was worth it at the time. But power play maybe it would’ve been — it’s a tough call. But if we got past that game he would’ve been in Game 7.”
Forward Brayden Schenn said he broke his ribs on three separate occasions during the season, and the third time, after a hit by San Jose’s Brent Burns, was what kept him out the final four games of the regular season.
“I’ve never broken a rib in my life,” Schenn said, “and one of those things where you get unlucky.”
General manager Doug said players were still players with their medical exams and which needed surgeries would be known later in the week. Binnington said he would not need surgery.
Waiting their turn
There are five NHL head coaching jobs open at the moment, and Armstrong wouldn’t be surprised if one of Berube’s three assistants — Jim Montgomery, Steve Ott and Mike Van Ryn — get one of them. Actually, he said, he would like it if there was some movement on the staff.
“I hope there is,” Armsrtong said. “I really hope there is. I think that Robby DiMaio, who was with us for a long time (as director of player personnel), is now an assistant GM in Anaheim. I think that’s a reflection on the great work Rob did here and also being part of a good organization. I think that our three assistant coaches, we have multiple coaches, but Steve Ott has come right from playing to coaching. I think he helped Craig with the power play, I think he did a really good job with that. I think he has the ability to be a head coach. Jimmy Montgomery has been an NHL head coach before, I thought he did a great job. I thought Mike Van Ryn has really touched everything, development coach, a minor league coach, an assistant coach. I think all three of these guys have aspirations to be NHL head coaches.
“I think they’re all deserving. I hope they get interviews. I hope they get to reach the goals they want to reach. But if they don’t, we’d love to have them back. Craig has told me that. I concur 100 percent, but also, I think part of any organization, you want to see growth and growth of those guys is commanding and taking part and running their own bench. If they get that opportunity, we’ll endorse them, we’ll push for them. But if they’re back, we’re a really good organization. … I’m compiling a list (of potential replacements). I think these guys are great coaches and I hope they get the opportunity.”
At the moment, there are openings in Dallas, Detroit, Philadelphia, Vegas and Winnipeg, and some successful coaches — Barry Trotz, Peter DeBoer and Paul Maurice — without a job.