With the Saint Louis Blues wallowing at No. 24th among the 32 NHL teams in points percentage (.470), I welcome the entertainment provided by goaltender Jordan Binnington in Wednesday’s embarrassing 8-5 loss to Minnesota. The Blues are 6-13-2 since Jan. 21 and have only 13 regulation wins in 34 home games this season.

So if Binnington can fire up the crowd by invading a group of Minnesota players to attack the Wild’s Ryan Hartman … why not. After scoring on Binnington, Hartman skated through the crease, contacting Binnington’s left leg. Hartman tripped, Binnington flipped. At that point a fuming Binnington tried to go all Texas Chainsaw Massacre on Hartman, who was celebrating the goal with a pack of Wild teammates.

Binnington was frying-pan hot with temper … and why not? Especially on a night when Nature Boy Ric Flair is inside the arena.

The Blues have been burned for 3.72 goals per game this season, displaying a looseness that’s unusually bad. For the most part Binnington’s defensemen stand around and watch the goals go in and all but escort opponents to their goaltender’s doorstep. I’m not saying that the defensemen are lax and disengaged, but I think I’ve seen them munching popcorn while loitering near the slot. (Well, not really. It just seems that way.)

The roster has transitioned to a rebuild, and the Blues won’t be making the playoffs for the next two or three seasons. A talented young goaltender, Joel Hofer, will be moving into Enterprise Center. And make no mistake, Hofer is coming for Binnington’s job.

Binnington isn’t to blame for the Blues’ hemorrhaging in their own end — but he hasn’t done enough to stop it. Binngton’s numbers have slipped since his excellence as a staunch guardian during the 2019 Stanley Cup run. And that is true, even when he was surrounded by much better teams than he is now. Among 30 league goaltenders that have played at least 1,500 minutes at even strength this season, Binnington ranks 26th in save percentage (.899). And his save rate at all strengths (.892) is inadequate.

Over the past two seasons Binnington has a Quality Start percentage of ,438. In the three seasons before that, his QS percentage was .570.

The same goes for Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA.) Over the last two seasons his GSAA is a minus 27.In the three seasons prior to that, Binniginton 19 goals above average.

In its “most overpaid goaltender” rankings at, Binnington made the bottom 10 for a second consecutive year.

“This season he didn’t have a goalie like Ville Husso to overtake him as a starter,” Rob Couch wrote, “and the St. Louis Blues were complacent to bring in veteran Thomas Greiss to back Binnington up. Binnington’s numbers continue to decline year after year, but it is partly due to the decline of the team as well.

“This season has not gone the way the Blues had envisioned, and since Binnington is still locked in at $6 million for four more seasons, they are stuck with his production.”

Binnington has the most penalty minutes among NHL goaltenders over the past four seasons. But 31 of his total 37 penalty minutes over that time came during his last two seasons. And that’s all we need to know about his growing frustration.


1. What a fantastic Saturday for watching STL sports. With the opportunity to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16, Mizzou basketball tips off against Princeton at 5:10 p.m. local time. At 6 p.m. the Battlehawks (3-1) go against Washington (4-0) in a must-win game inside the thunderdome at America’s Center. And at 7:30 p.m. St. Louis City SC will try to defeat San Jose at CityPark to become the first MLS expansion team to open the season with a 4-0 record.

2. Illinois lost to Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the same reason it lost so many times this season: awful shooting from three-point range. Thursday the Illini made 6 of 22 threes overall (27.3%) Illinois ended the season ranked No. 335 in the nation with a 30.8 percent success rate in making 3s. This is the same team that ranked 19th in the nation with a shooting percentage of 55.1% on two-point attempts. Go figure. Not sure why the Illini kept firing so many threes.

3. After winning at Portland last Saturday, St. Louis City SC moved up to No. 6 in the league power rankings listed at

“It’s not a magic trick. It’s not an illusion,” wrote J. Sam Jones. “Your league leaders (yes, league leaders) are just winning duels, capitalizing on chances and staying locked in for 90 minutes. They’ve caught a few breaks so far, but they’ve continuously put themselves in great positions to benefit from those breaks. In MLS, that’s far easier said than done. We’ll see how this keeps up over the course of a full season, but for now, no one wants any part of this team. All that being said, don’t overthink this. Just sit back and enjoy one of the most impressive starts in league history. We’re watching something special.”

4. After a 2-0 start to the season, St. Louis City was listed at No. 26 among the NLS 29 teams in the ESPN power rankings. But the victory at Portland prompted ESPN’s Ryan Rosenblatt to move City all the way up to No. 11. That’s a huge leap in one week. But it also shows how much respect City has earned by going 3-0 and winning two of three on the road.

“This team just makes sense. They know what they’re meant to do, they have the players to do it and they execute,” Rosenblatt wrote. “It’s hardly flashy, but, especially early in the season when a lot of teams are still figuring things out, it delivers points. Their win over Portland gives them nine of nine points, and even if teams start to catch up a bit, these points give them a big buffer.”

5. Washington Post columnist Jerry Brewer had many wonderful things to say about Mizzou basketball coach Dennis Gates. Brewer wrote his column from Sacramento, where Mizzou defeated Utah in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Here are some excerpts:

“In a sport grudgingly changing with the times, he is emerging as a leader in a new wave of men’s college basketball coaches who have fresh ideas about how to motivate and teach younger generations of players. More than that, he has an innate feel for building community through basketball.”

Noting the coach’s immediate success at Cleveland State and Missouri, Brewer wrote, “Gates connects. His sincere approach works. Over the past four seasons, no coach has been a better program builder.”

“If Gates continues his current pace, he may end up being the face of a new era in college basketball.”

“As a coach, Gates has channeled all his passion and turned into a multifaceted teacher. He coaches hard without demeaning his players. He utilizes every tool available to gain an edge, from analytics to sports psychology. His team plays aggressive defense, often pressuring full court. On offense, they prefer a read-and-react style, which includes classic Princeton offense concepts that Pete Carril popularized, but in their fast-paced hybrid system, it’s quite subtle. Missouri is full of wrinkles, illustrating all the experiences Gates has had throughout his career.”

And Brewer went to the right source for more perspective on Gates. That would be Gates’ mentor since 2004 – Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton.

“The good thing about Dennis is, the best is yet to come,” Hamilton told Brewer. “He’s just getting started. Not only will he win ballgames. He will take those teenagers and usher them into adulthood. He will never compromise his principles to win. He is the kind of guy that people will be emulating.”

6. Speaking of Pete Carril – the late, legendary icon of Princeton basketball – Missouri will face an inspired opponent in Princeton. And they’ll be facing one of Carril’s favorite players in current Princeton coach Mitch Henderson, a starting point guard on three consecutive Ivy League championship teams that went 73-13 record over three seasons in the late 1990s. Carril had retired by then but still had a major influence on Henderson’s life and career path.

As a coach Carril was revered for his success against heavily favored, brand-name programs. Accordingly, No. 15 seed Princeton stunned No. 2 seed Arizona 59-55 in Thursday’s first round. Princeton stayed calm while erasing a second-half 10-point deficit. “We are imperfect,” Henderson said after that one. “But we’re a very, very, very tough group.”

7. Princeton goes into the Mizzou game ranked 98th at KenPom – four spots behind St. Louis U (94th.) The Ivy League Tigers are No. 108 in the nation in offensive efficiency, and 106th defensively. They rank No. 325 in minutes from the bench, and No. 313 in Division 1 experience. Princeton took advantage of Arizona’s lazy performance and overconfidence, but that’s highly unlikely to be the case against a wired Missou team. KenPom’s model gives Mizzou a 69 percent win probability in Saturday’s matchup – with Mizzou winning 80-74. Princeton has won 20 games this season – with 17 of the 20 coming against Quad 3 and Quad 4 opponents. Never mind that; Princeton is a tricky opponent.

8. Jim Bowden (The Athletic) put Cardinals shortstop Masyn Winn on his Top 10 list of the most impressive young players of 2023 spring training. Jordan Walker was ranked No. 1. And Winn was No. 1. Bowden has written plenty about Jordan, so I’ll share what he said about Winn.

“Masyn Winn has arguably the best shortstop arm in the game, reminiscent of the “gun” that former Cubs shortstop Shawon Dunston once displayed,” Bowden wrote. “In fact, Winn has been clocked at more than 100 mph throwing to first base. This spring evaluators have been raving about his quick feed, ability to change directions on a dime, and above-average range to both sides. They say his bat is coming around and believe that at some point at the end of this year or early next year, he’ll become the everyday shortstop in St. Louis, with Tommy Edman moving back to second base. Winn is also an elite base stealer, having swiped 43 bags last year in 48 attempts. His hit tool will determine his timeline to the big leagues, but there’s no doubt he’s the Cardinals’ long-term answer at shortstop.”

9. Cardinals lefty Steven Matz looks ready to go. He added to his impressive spring training by allowing one earned run and four hits with no walks and three strikeouts in 4.1 innings in Friday’s 16-2 win over the Marlins. Matz has a 1.54 ERA in the Grapefruit League action.

10. Pardon my typos. Have a great weekend. if you love sports, I know you will.

Thanks for reading …


Bernie invites you to listen to his sports-talk show on 590 The Fan, KFNS-AM. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 4-6 p.m. You can listen by streaming online or by downloading the show podcast at or the 590 app.

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