On January 2, 2019, the St. Louis Blues had the worst record in the NHL. Five days later rookie goalie Jordan Binnington made his first start and went on to lead the Blues to their first Stanley Cup.
He’s a quirky guy (as most NHL goalies are). In the midst of the 2019 playoffs, he was asked if it was nerve-wracking to have so many close games. His response is a classic:
You’d think that if you achieved your life’s goal of being a Stanley Cup-winning goalie that your life would be all puppies and butterflies. But no. Since 2019 Binnington has had his ups and downs, most notably this past season where he lost his starting position to backup Ville Husso. The Blues entered the playoffs with Husso in goal but switched to Binnington when Husso struggled. Binnington played amazing, helping the Blues dispatch the Minnesota Wild in the first round, but then was injured in game 3 of the second round against the Colorado Avalanche (a contributing factor to the Blues losing the series 4-2 to the Avs).
What did Binnington think after such a tough season — losing his starting position, making a comeback only to be injured? Here’s what he said:
“I think that’s what kind of makes life fun, having to overcome challenges. At the end of the day, that’s what you are going to be most proud of, moments like that. I’m proud of how I handled it and how the team handled it.”
What a great way to view challenges and setbacks! The ups and downs we all experience certainly add spice to life. Earlier in the season, he was booed by fans after letting in a few soft goals. After the game, he said that he deserved the boos and that being booed when he played poorly made cheers that much better when he played well. Again, his notion is that the downs make the ups that much sweeter.
A similar concept is that sometimes it takes a toothache to appreciate the joy of a non-toothache. Here’s an IFOD on the joys of a non-toothache.
A post-script: however, it’s not that Binnington is zen all the time. Far from it. He’s gotten a lot of media attention for throwing a water bottle at Nazem Kadri while Kadri was being interviewed on TV (it was Kadri who injured Binnington and knocked him out of the playoffs).