Only one goalie has saved more shots this season than Connor Hellebuyck. He’s been a Vezina Trophy finalist twice in the last four years and won the award in 2020. He’s off to a great start to the new campaign, but he was all but happy this weekend. The reason was a highly controversial goal scored by the Dallas Stars in a matchup that the Winnipeg Jets won 5-4 after OT.
Winnipeg was up a goal, 4-3, late in the third period when Jets player Josh Morrissey pushed Stars captain Jamie Benn close to the goal. Jamie Benn collided with Connor Hellebuyck, and his helmet came off during the contact. The goalie stayed face down on the ice. But the referees didn’t stop the play.
With Hellebuyck still on the ice, and without a helmet, Stars player Jason Robertson scored a goal to tie the game. The goal has stirred up emotions, and many believe the refs did wrong not to stop the play with Hellebuyck without a mask. And the veteran goaltender definitely thinks so.
He told reporters on Saturday that the refs ’put him in danger.’
“Those refs made a mistake. … They put me in danger,” Hellebuyck said.
”A lot of bad things that could have came from that. Plain and simple, when a goalie’s mask gets knocked off, the play needs to get blown dead.”
The NHL rulebook gives the officials right. Refs should stop play if there’s no immediate scoring opportunity for the opposing team. But Hellebuyck still thinks the refs should have stopped it.
“The way the play goes, they’re expecting me to get up, go to the post, and then square up to a point shot,” he said. “For me, that’s just way too long, and no one’s gonna do that with no mask on. We don’t want any goalie in this league (to do that); we don’t want that for us. We don’t want to see that anywhere in this league.
“The fact that happened last night is very eye-opening, and hopefully, we can get better and get this rule changed.”