St. Louis Blues: The Goaltending Debate Is Pointless

The St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup based, in large part, on goaltending. They will not exit the 2020 playoffs based on that alone.

There is little doubt that one of the big reasons the St. Louis Blues won the 2019 Stanley Cup was their goaltending. Jordan Binnington was fantastic, especially in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

However, while Binnington was a huge reason the team won that game and the Cup, he is not the only reason. Binnington did not single-handedly win that championship by dragging a bunch of bums that would have finished out of the playoffs without him.

You’re taking away credit from someone like Ryan O’Reilly, who was one of the team’s best offensive and defensive players. You take away credit from guys like Jay Bouwmeester, without whom the Blues would not even have reached the finals, Binnington or not, due to the goal line stop he made on the Dallas Stars.

There are a whole cast of characters that deserve the credit for winning. On the flip side, there are an entire list of players that are to blame for the Blues recent struggles, and Jake Allen is not one of them, nor is Binnington.

As a former goaltender in both hockey and soccer, the lazy narrative that is constantly perpetuated by fans is nauseating. What is it about goaltenders that draws such ire out of people?

Don’t use that nonsense approach that it is their job to stop the puck, full stop. That is as dumb as saying it is the quarterback’s job to throw touchdowns or it is the hitter’s job to hit homeruns.

You have to take into consideration other factors, such as whether the quarterback had the time to throw a good pass due to a good offensive line or whether the receiver caught the pass or dropped it. You can take Tom Brady or Joe Montana or whoever, put them on a terrible team and they are not winning the Super Bowl based on the quarterback alone.

You cannot just assume a hitter has to hit everything out of the park. Maybe the pitcher threw everything just outside their power reach or maybe the outfielder made a spectacular catch at the wall.

People tend to take those things into consideration in other positions in other sports. The goaltender does not get that luxury with the masses.

There are plenty of fans, who are in their right mind, that take into consideration other factors. For them, it is not just a simple equation of goal scored, it’s the goalie’s fault.

For a lot of people it is. They also take it to extreme levels.

For those people, not only is it the goalie’s fault, but they attack them as a person as well, even if they deny it.

The Blues have gone through this for years with fans playing favorites even more than they accuse the coaches of doing. Brian Elliott was a godsend while Jaroslav Halak was garbage.

Jake Allen has to be purposely playing poorly because he has some grudge against the Blues, even though he’s one of the most liked guys in the locker room. We must all kiss the ground that Binnington walks on.

Never mind that Allen’s playoff numbers are actually quite a bit better than Binnington. Never mind that Binnington was letting up soft goals against Vancouver in Game 1 and 2 and Allen made big saves in Games 3 and 4.

No, it’s all about Allen not being absolutely stellar in Game 5. One poor goal and all the rats in the fandom came back out of the shadows.

Don’t pay attention to Binnington allowing 17 goals in four games in the bubble so far. Pay no attention to that .862 save percentage or 4.27 goals against.

Never mind Allen only allowing eight goals in four games in the bubble. Don’t even look at that stat line of 1.86 goals against and a .939 save percentage

But, this is not just a Binnington vs. Allen thing. This has been going on for years and decades.

People like to tout numbers, but forget stats when it doesn’t suit their argument, like the Allen vs. Binnington argument. That’s all about eye test and swagger.

If you try to use the eye test to counter their side, then it swings back to being a numbers game. Try to argue that Allen looked more comfortable in this game or that and it devolves into regular season numbers and not being a true number one etc. and so on. Those same people forget that Elliott was on the brink of being done in the NHL when the Blues sent him to the minors to get his act together.

The bottom line is, while this argument is never ending, it is pointless. While goaltending is a bigger part of hockey than most positions in other sports, it is not going to be the reason the Blues exit the playoffs, if they do.

The Blues have won or lost based on whether they got to their game and played it for the majority of the contest. When they have, the goalies have made good saves and kept them in it, even if the goals were not coming.

Binnington would not have won in Game 5 because the Blues stopped playing. They stopped skating, they were not as hungry for the puck and they allowed Vancouver to have hope.

Conversely, Allen would not have made the difference in Game 1 or 2. Yes, some of the goals Binnington let in were uncharacteristic, but the Blues were not scoring.

They did not defend properly either. You always want your goalie to come up with the big save on a breakaway, but the mere fact the Blues have allowed those breakaways is ridiculous.

The Blues have had defenders run into one another. They have found new and inventive ways to turn the puck over, setting up their goalie for failure.

Yet, somehow it all boils down to the goalie should have saved it? Pointing out the awfulness of a pass that sets an opponent on a breakaway, but saying the goalie should have had it is as asinine as saying the quarterback should have made the throw even though the running back missed a block and the QB got drilled as he threw the ball.

Stop wasting time with this argument. Be for whoever is in goal, no matter what.

Many claim they are. However, the amount of people that spewed their natural hate after Game 5 shows that there are far too many people that would rather Allen fail and be able to say they were right than the Blues have success with anyone who is not their goaltender.

I am an Allen fan. I did not pout the entire playoffs while Binnington succeeded.

Stop jumping on the goalie, no matter who it is, right off the bat. Binnington will likely play for the Blues against Vancouver in Game 6 and that’s fine.

That decision has as much to do with the poor play of the team than one man. To think otherwise is foolish.

To think that the Blues were wrong in even playing Allen in the first place is wrong. Just stop this nonsense. The only thing more foolish going on in the world is the pointless political argument and making out everyone on the other side to be an enemy.

We are all Blues fans and the guys that wear the Note are all pulling in the same direction. Use some critical thinking. It is not all about the goalie in all situations.