Saturday, 16 December 2017

From AHL Goalies To MMA Wrestlers

The image to the left was put together by the St. Louis Blues in February 2016 when they owned the rights of both of the men in question. Those men are Pheonix Copley and Jordan Binnington, and only one of them still toils for the Blues. Copley was traded at last year's trade deadline with Kevin Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals, and his rights are still owned by the Capitals for this current season. Not to make it too confusing, but Binnington is still a member of the Blues while Copley is still a member of the Capitals. Clear? Moving on.

Well, in reality, neither are in the NHL currently as they're both with AHL clubs. Pheonix Copley is with Washington's affiliate in the Hershey Bears. The Blues, though, don't have an official AHL affiliate for the 2017-18 season, so they've been placing players with AHL teams who have a need for players at specific positions with an emphasis on Chicago, their former affiliate who is now affiliated with the Vegas Golden Knights. With the Knights having their netminding injuries clearing up over the past couple of weeks, Jordan Binnington was instead assigned to the Providence Bruins recently as they had a need for a netminder. Clear? Ok, let's continue.

Tonight, the Providence Bruins visited the Hershey Bears, and these two former goaltending teammates got to square off against one another as the starters for their respective teams. The Bruins jumped out to a dominating lead, and early in the second period Hershey's Garrett Mitchell hammered scorer Kenny Agostino into the boards, setting off the fireworks between these two teams. Instead of standing 200-feet apart, Copley and Binnington decided to renew acquaintances at center ice!
I'm pretty sure that the AHL officials should have just handed out two minutes each for hugging, but a goalie fight is something we just don't see enough! As the announcer stated, Copley probably needed to take some frustration out after allowing four goals in 27 minutes of play, but I'm not sure Binnington was the guy he should be blaming.

Off-setting penalties to both netminders was the result as each goalie got a minor, a major, and a misconduct for their parts in the fight at the Providence blue line. Both men would see their nights end at that point as well as Providence put Zach McIntyre in for the remainder of the game in place of Binnington while Hershey replaced Copley with Vitek Vanacek. Perhaps the weirdest part of this game is that after the second period in which there were 77 minutes in penalties handed out, there were no penalties given in the third period.

The final score was 6-2 in favour of Providence, so Binnington still earned the win and Copley still received the loss. If Copley was looking for a win on the night by picking the fight with his former Blues teammate, I'm not sure I'd award him a win in the scrap either. At best, it was a draw, but at least we got to see the goalies go toe-to-toe in what looked like a rather pedestrian AHL blowout.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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