“Binnington was a guy my weight, he wasn't a Lehner or a 6'7″ guard” – Marc-André Fleury

“Binnington was a guy my weight, it’s not a 6'7


“It's crazy how many people have written to me about my altercation with Jordan Binnington. And there wasn't even a fight. »

Marc-André Fleury is nothing like a Billy Smith or a Ron Hextall. But for one evening, he walked across the ice at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis before dropping his mask and throwing on his mitt and blocker. He had a clear objective: to invite Binnington for a rare waltz between two guards. A waltz that never happened. But this scene captured the imagination and went around the hockey world.

Described as a good teammate for ages, Fleury lived up to his reputation. He was looking to defend Ryan Hartman, who had just received a blocker in the teeth after scoring his fifth goal. Binnington received a two-game suspension for his dangerous blow against the Wild winger.

Coming out of Wild practice, two days after the 8-5 victory against the Blues, Fleury spoke again about this event in an interview with the Journal.

“I had it a bit in mind”

“I wouldn't say I was coming to the rescue of a person,” said the 38-year-old goalkeeper. But it looks like I kinda had it in mind. When I saw him jump into the fray, I could predict what was coming. Hartman snagged it a bit after his goal and Binnington didn't like it. I thought he was my man. I didn't want the Blues to stay six against five. He was my guy in battle! »

“I don't know Binnington personally. I knew he had a hot temper. He has demonstrated this in recent years. I have nothing against him. As a goalkeeper, it is difficult to become enemies with the other goalkeeper. I just didn't like it when he hit my player with his blocker. I thought it was time for me to go. »


Fleury makes no secret of it. He would have liked to escape the clutches of the referees. Justin Johnson, one of the two linesmen, however, did his job by circling him to prevent him from rushing Binnington.

“Yes, I would have liked that, admitted Fleury. When there is a fight between two goalies in the American League, the ECHL or in the junior, I love to watch it. It's exciting and rare. It also gets weird with the equipment for the goalkeepers.

“When the incident with Binnington happened, we felt a huge noise in the crowd. There was energy. It was still cool.

“Hartman was proud of my reaction. But I would say mostly that the guys were laughing a lot after the second period. I was being teased by the boys. They would have liked to see a battle between the two Guardians due to the rarity.

he trusted

With 543 NHL wins, number 29 is third in history. When asked if he would have won his first fight, he thinks about it for two seconds before making a prediction.

“Yes, I was confident. We would have spoken of a featherweight fight, but it could become fun since both of us are lighter. There might have been more energy and speed with two little ones. Binnington was a guy my weight, he wasn't a Robin Lehner or a 6'7, 240lb guard. »

If a fight between two guards is more folklore than reality, this was not Fleury's first incident this season.

“There is a game [December 31] again against the Blues where Binnington had shook his mitt to invite me. And in San Jose [March 11], I relived another story. I received a slash from an attacker and I fought back a bit. James Reimer started to come forward and he also shook his mitt to invite me. In my head, I had thought that I had already suffered a broken joint in the junior during a fight. I didn't think it was the right time to fight one month before the playoffs. But when it happened for a third time against the Blues, I thought enough was enough! »

A fracture in the junior

In his years with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, Fleury had fought twice against another goaltender (Adam Russo and Kevin Lachance). 

In his second experience, he had suffered a fracture at a joint. 

His microphone picked up everything

Marc-André Fleury wore a microphone on him for that famous game against the St. Louis Blues and Jordan Binnington. On social media, the Wild posted a video that has already been viewed more than 400,000 times. We see there, but above all we hear Fleury who invites Binnington to fight to then try to convince the linesman to release him from his grip. “There's a show, Becoming Wild. It's a behind-the-scenes show for the team, Fleury explained. They can follow a player in the summer, off the ice or in his routine for a game. It was my turn. I had been followed since the morning. The team following me all day. In the heat of the moment, I didn't think about my microphone. When I saw the scene again, I was relieved to see that there was no foul language! I found that quite funny. » 

Fleury wouldn't eliminate fighting 

Marc-André Fleury doesn't like the proposal to ban fighting in the QMJHL

Like many QMJHL veterans, Marc-André Fleury is on the side of the skeptics for the proposal to ban fights on the circuit that we must now baptize in the name of Mario Cecchini.

< p>Asked to offer his opinion on the subject, Fleury offered a direct, but also nuanced answer.

“I would not eliminate fights. I'm not saying this because of my fake battle with Binnington. I didn't like when I was playing in junior or when I was starting out in the NHL and there were guys who were fighting very often. That was mainly their job. I thought it was unfair for the guys. It is hard on the body and on their brain. There are risks. »

“But I have a philosophy that the presence of fights keeps the players honest. There are people paying to see Kirill Kaprizov with the Wild, one of the best players on the planet. But if Kaprizov gets picked up from the back and still gets slashed, he'll end up hurting himself. Fans won't see him on the ice anymore. When you know you can eat a cuff if you do something dangerous, you think twice before doing it. It's my opinion. There is a form of policing with the mere possibility of a fight. »


“There is also a double talk, he continued. Hockey still uses brawls in its promotions. I don't want it to become a player's number one job again, but it can still happen in the heat of the moment. And it's still very popular a fight. In Minnesota when Ryan Reaves drops the gloves, the spectators rise again. But Ryan doesn't need to fight every night, he knows how to play hockey. He has a physical presence, he hits hard. »

Especially happy with the team

Marc-André Fleury blocks a shot aimed at his net in a game against the Blackhawks on December 16.

Marc-André Fleury has always said that victory symbolizes the most important statistic. He hasn't changed his mind.

At 38 and in his first full season in Minnesota, Fleury still wears the pads of a number one. But he shares more work than in the past with his deputy.

“Hmm, there were ups and downs,” replied the goaltender from Sorel to describe his season with the Wild. For some segments it was really good, but it wasn't always the case.

“As a team, we are having a good season. I do not know if there are several people who predicted such a position for us in our division. We are fighting for the top of our division and the Western Conference. We work hard and we deserve this place. »

In 41 games this season, Fleury is 23-13-3 with a 2.83 GAA and .908 save percentage. He also had two shutouts.

A healthy cohabitation

Acquired from the Ottawa Senators for Cam Talbot over the summer, Filip Gustavsson is having his best NHL campaign by far. The 24-year-old Swede is 17-9-5 with a 2.08 GAA and a .929 save percentage.

“He's super easy to work with , noted Fleury. He's a good young man. He works well, he is quite quiet. He doesn't talk too much, but he comes out with good little jokes. I get on well with him. I also like to talk with him between periods to come back to goals or games. He has good readings. I find it good to exchange ideas with him since he is a goalkeeper from another generation. He doesn't have the same technique as me.

“He is having an incredible season. He is among the best in the NHL for the average and the efficiency rate. »