It’s already happened this NHL season. When goalies see an opportunity to get a whistle from the referee in a tight situation, they can simply take off their helmets. Goalies can’t play without a helmet. It’s unsafe and can cause a lot of damage.
So if a goalie is without a mask, the referee must blow the whistle. And some have taken advantage of that. Earlier this season, Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov appeared to shake his mask off just to get a whistle because he lost sight of the puck.
And last night, it happened again, but this time, it led to a penalty.
NHL referees are trying to get goalies to stop delaying the game, and they’ve had it with goalies shaking their helmets off. But when it happened to Jake Oettinger Thursday, many argued that they got it wrong.
Half of the third period in the matchup between the Dallas Stars and the New York Rangers was played when Oettinger got a shot right at the mask. Seconds later, Oettinger stood without a mask, and the ref’s arm was up for a penalty. Oettinger didn’t understand a thing, but the replays showed that after the puck hit him in the face, he shook the helmet off.
In this situation, we can understand him. The helmet was probably not sitting correctly, so the best solution for him was to take it off. But the refs gave him a delay of game penalty. Fans were confused on social media, and some claimed they’d never seen anything like it. Many were also furious with the officiating.
”Good for Otter for doing it regardless of the crap officiating. I can’t believe that’s what it has come to,” one said.
”I see that refs all around the league are terrible, so just another Thursday in the NHL,” another said.
According to the Twitter account ”Scouting The Refs,” the refs got it right.
”That’s the right call per Rule 9.6. Can’t remove your helmet to stop play, even if it’s damaged or the strap is loose. He did remove it intentionally, though,” they said.
Fans were also angry that Oettinger got penalized, but goalies like Matt Murray of the Maple Leafs have been seen knocking off his own nets without getting any penalty calls for it.