St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington confirmed Tuesday that he threw a water bottle at Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri after Game 3 of their second-round series.
On May 21, Binnington left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury that he suffered after Kadri and Blues defenseman Calle Rosen crashed the net seeking a loose puck. The injury ended Binnington’s season, as Blues goalie Ville Husso played the rest of the six-game series, which St. Louis lost to the Avalanche.
After the Game 3 incident, Kadri was doing a postgame interview with TNT and talking about the collision. He paused for a moment and then continued, eventually telling the broadcast that Binnington might have thrown a water bottle at him.
In his postgame news conference, Kadri didn’t back off that insinuation. “Yeah, I think it was Binnington. But I was a little tied up, so you’ll have to ask him,” Kadri said. “I think it was him. I don’t know for sure.”
Binnington explained his actions on Tuesday, as the Blues held their postseason press availability.
“I went to get my knee checked out, midgame. I was coming back to the rink. The game just ended. Walking down the hallway, I couldn’t find a recycling bin on my way down the hallway. Right before I walked into the locker room, I see him kind of doing an interview there. Smiling, laughing there, and I’m there in a knee brace limping down the hallway,” he said.
“I just felt like it was a God-given opportunity. I don’t know, I could just stay silent and go in the room or I could say something and just have him look me in the eye and understand what’s going on. [Give him] something to think about. Yeah, I just threw the water bottle. An empty water bottle. It landed like 2 feet from him. It is what it is there. It’s hockey and it’s a competitive game. So, that’s it.”
Kadri and Binnington had a previous incident this season. In October, Binnington was given a 10-minute misconduct penalty for swinging his goalie stick at Kadri after a scrum between the teams.
Kadri wasn’t called for a penalty on the play that resulted in Binnington’s injury, and the NHL department of player safety determined there was no need for supplemental discipline.
The aftermath of Binnington’s injury was a low point for the NHL postseason. Kadri, who is Muslim and of Lebanese descent, was the subject of racist comments and threats following his collision with Binnington. Local law enforcement was called to investigate threats made toward Kadri on social media, and there was increased police presence at the Avalanche’s team hotel in St. Louis and around the players’ entrance to the ice at Enterprise Center in Game 4. Kadri responded with a hat trick in that game.
“I know what was said isn’t a reflection on every single fan in St. Louis. I understand that and I want to make that clear,” he said. “But for those that wasted their time sending messages like that, I feel sorry for them.”