Blues’ Jordan Binnington suspended 2 games for throwing punch

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — St. Louis Blues goalie Jordan Binnington was suspended two games without pay for throwing a punch at Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman.

Binnington’s suspension forced the Blues to call up Joel Hofer from Springfield of the AHL to serve as an emergency goaltender.

Binnington received a match penalty in the second period of an 8-5 loss to Minnesota for swinging his blocker glove at Hartman. Binnington left his crease and went after Hartman right after giving up the Wild’s fifth goal of the night.

Minnesota goalie Marc-Andre Fleury skated the length of the ice to confront the unmasked Binnington, but the two were separated by officials and Binnington was sent off the ice.

Binnington will forfeit $64,864.86 under the NHL collective bargaining agreement based on his average annual salary. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Binnington is 22-24-5 with a 3.39 goals-against average. Thomas Greiss will likely serve as the Blues’ No. 1 goaltender while Binnington is out.

Rangers acquire Vladimir Tarasenko in trade with Blues

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers acquired the prolific scoring winger and defenseman Niko Mikkola from the St. Louis Blues for conditional 2023 first- and 2024 fourth-round picks, forward Sammy Blais and prospect Hunter Skinner.

Tarasenko gives New York even more of an offensive boost in the hopes of making another deep playoff run following a surprise trip to the Eastern Conference Final. The 31-year-old Russian has 29 points in 38 games this season but is also a proven scorer who has surpassed 30 goals six times in his NHL career.

Getting Tarasenko comes on the heels of the New York Islanders acquiring 30-goal-scoring center Bo Horvat from Vancouver and signing him to an eight-year, $68 million extension.

It puts more pressure on the teams around the Rangers and Islanders in the Metropolitan and the rest of the East, most notably the division-leading Carolina Hurricanes and second-place New Jersey Devils, who lost All-Star center Jack Hughes to a week-to-week injury. Any of those teams would be a good fit for 26-year-old San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier, who’s under team control for at least next season at $10 million and could sign a long-term extension.

The Rangers targeted Tarasenko among the top wingers available, given the high asking price and salary cap ramifications of acquiring Meier or Chicago’s Patrick Kane, the latter of whom still has not decided if he wants to be traded from the Blackhawks. St. Louis retained half of Tarasenko’s salary and $7.5 million cap hit, giving New York some flexibility to make more moves over the next three weeks.

“It’s something we’ve been looking at for a while,” Rangers general manager Chris Drury said on a video call with reporters. “It gives the two new players a little more time to acclimate to our group, so excited to do it now and get them in the lineup.”

As part of their roster shuffle, the Rangers put defenseman Libor Hajek on waivers to clear roster space for Mikkola, a 6-foot-5, 26-year-old Finn who gives them more depth on the blue line. Rookie forward Will Cuylle was also sent back to Hartford of the American Hockey League.

Blais returns to the Blues after less than two years since they traded him to the Rangers with a second-round pick for Pavel Buchnevich.

Dealing Tarasenko could be the start of a selloff in St. Louis with the Blues on track to miss the playoffs for just the second time in 12 years. Captain Ryan O'Reilly and gritty forward Ivan Barbashev are also pending free agents who could be valuable rental pickups for contenders.

Asked if he was done trading, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong laughed and said, “Finished for tonight.” He declined to answer about the possibility of signing O’Reilly beyond this season.

“Ryan’s our captain,” Armstrong said. “I’m a big fan of Ryan. He and I talked behind closed doors, and I’m going to keep it there. He knows how I feel about him.”

Tarasenko, who in 2019 helped the Blues win the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history, initially requested a trade in the summer of 2021 because he was unhappy with how the team handled his shoulder injuries. He nevertheless reported to camp and played for them since, including being a point-a-game player last season.

“A couple years ago I was provided a list of teams that he would like to go to, so I started with that group and I was able to find a match out of that group,” Armstrong said. “I was hoping that that didn’t change. Obviously New York’s a marquee city for all players in the league, so I was comfortable that when I called (his agent), I would have been surprised if that had have been an issue.”

Blues coach Craig Berube got to talk to Tarasenko after the trade and told him, “Good luck moving forward (and) thanks for everything.”

“Tough situation, for sure,” Berube told reporters after practice. “Obviously we haven’t performed well enough. That’s what happens: Trades are made. Both of them have been good players for us.”

The first-round pick St. Louis received will be the later of the Rangers’ or Stars’ – from the trade that sent defenseman Niks Lundkvist to Dallas – this year, unless the Stars’ pick winds up in the top 10. The fourth-rounder next year becomes a third as long as New York makes the playoffs this season, which is very likely.

Banged-up Blues put O’Reilly, Tarasenko on injured reserve

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The St. Louis Blues put captain Ryan O'Reilly and winger Vladimir Tarasenko on injured reserve Monday, the latest blows to a Western Conference contender looking to remain in the playoff race.

The team said O’Reilly has a broken foot and Tarasenko an injured hand. O’Reilly is expected to be out for at least six weeks and Tarasenko for four.

The Blues last week put defenseman Torey Krug on IR with a lower-body injury and the expectation that he would miss the following six weeks.

St. Louis has been ravaged by injuries all season and is in 10th place in the West, five points back of the final playoff spot, nearly halfway through the NHL season.

The latest developments led to the Blues recalling rookie forward Jake Neighbours from Springfield of the American Hockey League.

General manager Doug Armstrong was to address reporters later Monday. O’Reilly and Tarasenko are each in the final year of their contracts and could be dealt before the March 3 trade deadline if new deals aren’t done and Armstrong decides the Blues are sellers.

They haven’t been in quite some time. St. Louis has made the playoffs in 10 of the past 11 seasons and missed out by one point the only other year during that stretch, which including the team winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history in 2019 with O’Reilly and Tarasenko playing key roles.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug out for 6 weeks

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ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury and will be re-evaluated in six weeks.

Krug, 31, has five goals and 12 assists in 31 games this season, his third with St. Louis. He will be a long-term IR exception to the salary cap.

The Blues recalled 22-year-old defenseman Tyler Tucker from the team’s AHL affiliate in Springfield, where he has one goal and 12 assists this season. He has played in four games with the Blues this year, serving five penalty minutes.

Cates, Flyers hand Blues eighth straight regulation defeat

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PHILADELPHIA — Noah Cates, Owen Tippett and Travis Konecny each had a goal and an assist, Felix Sandstrom made 28 saves and the surprising Philadelphia Flyers handed the St. Louis Blues their eighth straight regulation defeat, 5-1 on Tuesday night.

Wade Allison and Lukas Sedlak also scored for rebuilding Philadelphia, which has won seven of 12 and garnered 16 points to start the season under first-year coach John Tortorella. The Flyers were last in the Metropolitan Division last season.

“We’re trending the right way,” Cates said. “We’re finding our groove, and we just have to keep going.”

Ryan O'Reilly scored for the Blues, who set a club record for consecutive losses in regulation. St. Louis last won on Oct. 22 to improve to 3-0. The Blues are five defeats from matching the franchise’s all-time losing streak, a 13-game slide from March 16-April 8, 2006, that included three overtime losses.

“I don’t have an answer, just not good enough,” O’Reilly said. “You can see it. You can feel it. Every mistake, we get heavier and heavier. Every 50-50 puck seems to go their way. It’s frustrating.”

Allison notched the first of Philadelphia’s three second-period tallies with 9:49 left in the period. Ivan Provorov set up the goal with a pass toward the crease, and the puck went off Allison and past Blues goalie Thomas Greiss. It was just the third time in 12 contests Philadelphia has gotten on the board first.

“Really good start,” Tortorella said. “Thought we put a lot of good minutes in. . Maybe we’re taking steps in the right direction.”

Konecny scored his team-leading fifth of the season with 3:23 to play in the period when he wheeled past defenseman Justin Faulk in the slot and fired a wrist shot past Greiss’ blocker side.

The Flyers just beat the buzzer for their final tally of one of their most impressive periods of the season with a 4-on-4 goal with three seconds left on a pretty passing play. Scott Laughton started it by keeping the puck in the zone, then sent a pass to the opposite circle to Travis Sanheim, who whipped the puck to the far side of the crease and Cates deflected it home for his second goal of the season.

That was more than enough for the Flyers against the struggling Blues.

“We’re not playing good enough to win games,” St. Louis coach Craig Berube said. “We’re gripping the sticks for sure.”

Sandstrom was a late replacement for announced starter Carter Hart, who was ill.

O’Reilly got the Blues on the board 5:22 into the third with a wrister from the slot that got past Sandstrom low on the glove side after a nifty setup from Ivan Barbashev.

But Sedlak answered just 1:22 later with a backhander from close range that went off Greiss’ pads and in after Nick Seeler‘s long shot from the point.

The Blues tried for an early spark with fisticuffs. Brayden Schenn dropped the gloves with Philadelphia’s Seeler just 3:39 into the contest in a one-sided duel won by Seeler. Just 51 seconds later, Blues’ Robert Bortuzzo fought Zack MacEwen following a faceoff. Neither player was able to gain their footing in a draw.

But the fights were not enough to spark the Blues. Philadelphia dominated the first period, outshooting the Blues 18-11, before the three-goal barrage in the second.


The Flyers announced the return of their annual charity carnival on March 26 after it took a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.


Flyers: Earlier on Tuesday, Tortorella called Hart the “backbone” of the team. The 24-year-old netminder is 6-0-2 with a 1.97 goals-against average and 94.6 save percentage.


Blues: Host San Jose on Thursday.

Flyers: At Columbus on Thursday.