Blues have 'beer league' goalie on bench in tonight's game

KMOX News Radio
KMOX News Radio

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The St. Louis Blues are really hoping they won't have to use their backup goalie in Thursday's game. But if needed, emergency backup goalie Kyle Konin will be dressed and ready to go.

Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol Thursday after testing positive for the virus. It put the team in a difficult situation, because of salary-cap constraints, they can't call up another goalie for tonight's game in Tampa Bay.

League rules stipulate that because the Blues don’t have the cap room to add another player to the roster, they have to get through one game with an emergency backup.

Konin, 23, will be backing up Ville Husso. He played two seasons of junior hockey for the New Hampshire Avalanche and the Vermont Lumberjacks of the Eastern Hockey League. Most recently, he played club hockey at Grand Valley State University and now works as a mask painter. He also apparently plays rec-league hockey still.

“He had a morning skate today with his beer league guys and he said he was on fire and ready to go, so we’re excited to have him in here,” Blues General manager Doug Armstrong said Thursday afternoon. “Knock on wood that he’ll remain a 60-minute cheerleader.”

Binnington, who backstopped the Blues to their first Stanley Cup title in 2019, is 8-5-3 with a 2.80 goals-against average and .912 save percentage in 16 starts this season. The 28-year-old is also a leading candidate to be one of Canada’s goalies at the upcoming Olympics in Beijing, assuming the NHL does not withdraw.

Husso is expected to get the lion’s share of duties in net while Binnington is out. The 26-year-old Finn is 3-1-0 with a 1.76 GAA and .936 save percentage in limited action this season.

“I believe he’s in a better place,” head coach Craig Berube said. “It’s obviously new for him to handle the load. But I’m going off his play this year so far and he’s played extremely well.”

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