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IT STINKS: Helmet Rule Dooms Penguins, Gifts Rangers Tying Goal in Game 7 Win

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Marcus Pettersson, helmet rule

NEW YORK — Pittsburgh Penguins Goalie Tristan Jarry essentially called the rule unnecessary. Captain Sidney Crosby called it a terrible rule. Head coach Mike Sullivan didn’t mince words when asked about the NHL rule, which requires a player to replace his helmet immediately or exit the ice if his helmet comes off.

It’s also a penalty to intentionally pull a player’s helmet off, just as it’s a penalty to play without it. The rule dramatically changed the game late in the third period of the New York Rangers’ 4-3 OT win over the Penguins in Game 7 on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.

“I think it stinks. He has to come off.  His helmet got pulled off intentionally, but that’s the rule,” Sullivan said.

 

Officials did not penalize Rangers forward Alexis Lafreniere, who clearly grabbed at Marcus Pettersson’s helmet until it came off. It wasn’t easy. Pettersson’s chin strap kept the helmet on his head much longer than Lafreniere anticipated.

The incident happened well away from the puck, too. Interference? Technically, removing a player’s helmet is roughing, according to the rulebook.

Instead, nada.

The NHL rulebook under section 9.6 states: A player on the ice whose helmet comes off during play shall be assessed a minor penalty if he does not exit the playing surface, or retrieve and replace his helmet properly on his head (with or without his chin strap fastened), within a reasonable period of time. It is reasonable if a player who is making a play on the puck or who is in the vicinity of the puck and engaged in the play at the time his helmet comes off, takes the opportunity to complete the play before either exiting the ice or retrieving and replacing his helmet.

Pettersson’s helmet finally spilled to the ice as Pettersson threw his hands up in frustration. There was not going to be a penalty in the waning minutes of regulation. The Penguins controlled the third period with a 3-2 lead after Evan Rodrigues’ brilliant shorthanded goal in the final minutes of the second.

“The feeling behind the bench was that we were in control of the game,” said Sullivan. “We were playing on our toes. We were playing the game the right way. But that’s hockey, I guess.”

The Rangers broadcast described the incident, “As Pettersson exits the ice, the Penguins lost their structure, and Mika Zbinejad took advantage.”

As Pettersson raced to the bench, the Penguins scrambled to recover. Zbinejad had enough space from the right-wing dot to unleash a perfect one-timer in the top corner. The goal tied the game with less than six minutes remaining.

“I think that’s a rule made by the NHL that could be changed. I don’t think many injuries happen when players play without helmets. I think it’s something that it’s cost us,” Jarry said. “I think that (if he doesn’t) lose his helmet, he comes back the net, and he plays the guy out front. I think that’s a nothing play.”

It was the precursor to the end of the Pittsburgh Penguins season and possibly the end of the Sidney Crosby-Evgeni Malkin-Kris Letang era. Artemi Panarin scored another New York power play goal in OT for the winner.

None of the Penguins specifically blamed the helmet toss for the loss. You can’t do such things when you squander three leads in three games. Each could have put away the series.

But this time, they did everything right. They led 3-2 in the third period and were dominating the game.

“We played a great game tonight. We played some good hockey throughout the series. We didn’t get that next one tonight. That probably was a difference. But I think even though we had those leads, we still played the right way,” Crosby said. “But tonight was an example of one game, and anything can happen. And we didn’t get that extra goal there late in the game. And, you know, a terrible rule ends up probably being the difference in the game.”

And with a level of irony that only the NHL could muster, the Penguins lost in overtime when officials (rightfully) called Brock McGinn for holding on a Rangers breakaway chance.

Add that irony log to the contrast of the league and officials not protecting players’ heads as New York defensemen Ryan Lindgren and Jacob Trouba delivered multiple headshots during the series, including to Crosby in Game 5.

A player can’t play without a helmet, but trying to squash the bits inside the helmet was largely unpenalized.

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ penalty kill was anything but killer. New York’s power-play again blitzed the Penguins throughout Game 7. In the seven-game series, each Rangers power play had the feeling of riding a roller coaster without a seatbelt. The Penguins PK could only hang on until it was over, either by goal or time expiration.

In overtime, it was a goal, not expiration and the Penguins’ season is over.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Paul
Paul
1 month ago

The Penguins (like the Maple Leafs) got effed in the playoffs. The cheap shot on Crosby in Game 4 turned around the series, and the non-call against Pettersson probably decided the clincher. The league can afford to screw teams in real hockey markets because their fans will show up no matter what happens. They really need the non-traditional hockey cities to do well, or else their smaller fan bases will tune their teams out. (Is it a coincidence that both Florida teams are serious contenders while Canada has not had a Cup winner in 29 years?) Maybe the Pens need… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul
Paul
Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

Make that Game 5 . . .

jtee
jtee
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

yeah, the penguins lost three games in a row because of bad calls. You have to be joking. They lost to a team that beat them all season.

Paul
Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  jtee

Sone jamoke named Jacob Trouba was the MVP of the series. His cheap shot turned a five-game loss into a seven-game win.

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul
Tom
Tom
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

Gretsky skated with an enforcer….Sid’s….alone.

WAS
WAS
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

IF YOU CANT TAKE THE HITS GET OUT OF THE PLAYOFFS

Bold Ruler
Bold Ruler
1 month ago

The NHL would be in a much better place if more progressive thinking people (non-Canadians) were in charge of the rule books and enforcing player safety.

Logan
Logan
1 month ago

It’s so sad and disappointing this is likely the end of the big 3. This Penguins fan is very sad tonight.

Dan smith
Dan smith
1 month ago

Why didn’t he just grab his helmet and put it back on instead of whining to the ref? And that second goal wasn’t a close call that went Pitts way right (it was a high stick but I digress). Come on man, you lost. It wasn’t a rule that doomed you (Pitt players and coaches didn’t seem to understand it), it was the inability to hold leads in three straight clinching games. Just like your captain, when you lose you pout (:

Ralph Butcher
Ralph Butcher
1 month ago
Reply to  Dan smith

Dan Smith is a MORON

Paul
Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  Ralph Butcher

He’s right though

suck it yinzers

Elroy
Elroy
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

So, if lack of calling penalties in the playoffs against less physical more scoring skilled teams isn’t a problem, why did the NY Rangers go out and Ryan Reeves again?

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Elroy

I think for the same reason the Pens traded a 1st for Reaves in 2017 tho it didnt work out…

Ld59
Ld59
1 month ago
Reply to  Ralph Butcher

Here’s a tissue for your tears!!!😂😂

Paul
Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  Dan smith

One Cup, 82 years. #Pathetic

Jack Mehoff
Jack Mehoff
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

If you think thats sad, wait till I tell you about a team that blew a 3-1 to that team.

Twice.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Dan smith

I guess that if the Rangers are allowed to not play by the rules they deserve to win. Carolina sweep. The Rangers and their fans are a joke. Good luck.

Tom
Tom
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Crosby needs to play in Europe. they’ll pay him well and he won’t be concussed, repeatedly. It ain’t worth all the elbows 3rd rate players throw in the NHL.

Scotto
Scotto
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Right. Rangers are not required to play by the rules.
By the way, pipsqueek, Ranger fans are some of the best Fans in the world! Since your crying, go get a tissue.

Stan Kaplan
Stan Kaplan
1 month ago
Reply to  Dan smith

Letang did a nice job screening Jarry on the game winner.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago

The complaining is off the charts. Hockey always has been an extremely messy game. If the Pens score on various 5 on 3’s which were also questionable, or a 4 on 3 tonight, they win. They also got a HUGE gift in game 1, that the Penguin own TV announcers said should have been a goal. The Pittsburgh print media has disappointed me, I’m sorry to say. Do better, please.

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Agreed. If you give up two, yep goal leads in two elimination games, it wasn’t the helmet that lost you the series. Stop whining and take responsibility for falling short.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  David

I’m a Penguin fan BTW. Since 1975! I watched them lose to the Islanders in game 7 after being up 3 games to 0 on my parents 9″ black and white TV! I traveled from NJ and have stayed at the Chatham Hyatt on multiple occasions to watch them play. I can go on and on. The officiating has always been a mess. I can say the Pens should have won this series, but I can also say they had no business winning with Domingue in net for 5 games. Jarry was mediocre last night as well. Not that I’m… Read more »

James
James
1 month ago

The refs made several questionable calls, or non-calls, throughout the series. Some of them hurt the Pens & some hurt the Rangers. So, here’s a thought, if you want to win, score the most goals. The Rangers did that 4 times….bye bye

Ralph Butcher
Ralph Butcher
1 month ago
Reply to  James

Jack Stick

Paul
Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  James

One Cup, 82 years. #Pathetic

Jack Mehoff
Jack Mehoff
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

If you think thats sad, wait till I tell you about a team that blew a 3-1 to that team.
Twice.

James
James
1 month ago

Glad you ackowledge Pettersson interfered with Laff prior to the helmet coming loose. He shaded Laff into the back of the cage.. it’s pretty clear… You state a player must immediately leave the ice or replace his helmet…the rule (which you go on to cite verbatim) actually allows for a reasonable amount of time for either and further states it is reasonable for a player to complete a play he is involved in or within the vicinity of prior to exiting or replacing his helmet. This is a material difference on that your use of the word immediate implies it… Read more »

Merg
Merg
1 month ago

This is hands down the softest article I’ve ever read. How many 5-3s did the pens get gifted? Goal taken off the board in game 1. Guentzel high stick goal. The pens squandered how many leads ? Ur soft for this lol

RangerFan
RangerFan
1 month ago
Reply to  Merg

Zero 5-3s were gifted. The goal was 50-50. Guentzel’s goal wasn’t high sticked. Learn the rules. Pens squandered too many leads. Refs did their best to help Rags in that. Not calling the games the way they should. Game 7 was the only one called almost correctly.

Rangers will get their ass handed to them when they meet a team with their top players available. Then they will resort to injuring the opponents again. That’s gallant’s goon hockey. Even Lafréniere’s become dirty in the Rangers.

Crazyhorse87
Crazyhorse87
1 month ago

Oh well, there will most likely not be a season next season. When it comes to the NHL, they see what they wanna see and plaster it all over the media where the narrative defends their bs.

Saq
Saq
1 month ago

Do a better job, try to be a little more objective. This page had an excuse for the Dirty Birds losing each game, but fail to mention all the breaks that as well. As far as that rule you found necessary to post, which is good because it stated exactly why you couldn’t have been more wrong. The time it took him to put his hands in the air and cry to the ref (a Pittsburgh, fan, writer, coach go to) he could have just put it back on. It’s comical not only didn’t he know the rule, neither did… Read more »

jtee
jtee
1 month ago

First of all, Sullivan should read the rulebook. Second, of course, he’s gonna say it was intentional. And third, a helmet didn’t cause the Penguins to lose three games in a row.

BobbyO
BobbyO
1 month ago

Hilarious hearing about interference call missed when the Pens run picks and interference around net, on face offs and to prevent forecheck every game. Granted they do it well but its still a penalty according to the rulebook but which rarely is applied .

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

Wah wah wah 😭. Goals are earned, not gifted, unless your goalie let it go in.

NMAvs
NMAvs
1 month ago

Player safety in the league is a joke. I absolutely felt the hit that sent Crosby out was to the head and should have received a suspension, but they did nothing. Then they let players skate with helmet chin straps so loose their bucket is just as likely to pop off as not in pretty much every hit. They let Tkachuk and others play with their mouth guard half hanging out of their mouth where it clearly won’t do anything to prevent concussion. But then they have a rule that when a helmet comes off the player has to leave… Read more »

Brian
Brian
1 month ago

Sounds like a bunch of whining to me instead of saying we blew a 3-1 series lead to the Rangers AGAIN and taking ownership of not holding onto leads in each of the last 3 elimination games for the Rangers.

Cal
Cal
1 month ago

Officiating either good or bad is part of the game. Unfortunate reality.

Tom
Tom
1 month ago

Time for Sid to leave the NHL before thy elbow his brains out his ears….go play in Europe where brutality is NOT rewarded.

Travis
Travis
1 month ago

Rangers lose this series if Trouba didn’t head hunt Crosby and all the down voters know this

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Travis

Wasn’t a head hunt… if you had ever played you would know this

RangerFan
RangerFan
1 month ago
Reply to  James

If you weren’t a Ranger fan you’d know it was. Trouba knew he’d get away with it ’cause Lindgren also did with his headhunt on Rakell.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  RangerFan

Incorrect…stick to puck poke check and then Troubas stick was through Sids legs. The length of the stick made it impossible to pull it back through by just pulling back. One must pull back andift the butt end up to draw back far enough to ensure the blade will hopefully clear Sids skates….again….if you ever played you would know this…

Jack Mehoff
Jack Mehoff
1 month ago

This article has no basis in fact. This guy repeatedly just cries when the Penguins lose. It is the end of an era. Crosby is good, but the Penguins weren’t good enough this time. They won’t be good enough next time either. They were spanked by the Rangers multiple times during the regular season, and they blew several leads to lose in the playoffs. That isn’t a Rangers problem. That’s a Penguins problem. A rebuild is likely in order. You aren’t a Stanley Cup team anymore. Get better. Stop crying.

Greg
Greg
1 month ago

The Pens were gifted a free goal on the high stick goal in the 2nd period. Any objective human being knows the replay booth royally failed on that call

Hiawatha Francisco Jones
Hiawatha Francisco Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

This is the website equivalent of a hysterical and nonsensical sports talk radio rant. Unhinged, ignorant and demonstrates a stunning lack of hockey knowledge. The Pens have only themselves to blame for the loss and the helmet was symbolic of the Pens failings all series and frankly for the second half of the season—whining, pointing fingers, and looking for the refs to bail them out. Petterson interfered with Lafraniere, and then cried when Lafraniere returned the favor. A heady player, who was well-coached in the rules, would have picked up his helmet and put it back on—a point made on… Read more »

Jack Mehoff
Jack Mehoff
1 month ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

What would you know about being objective? You don’t even understand the rules of the game, as per this article.

RangerFan
RangerFan
1 month ago
Reply to  Greg

Like the referees royally failed to penalize many hits to the head that resulted in injuries, right? Replays clearly showed that it wasn’t a high stick. Stop whining, We won. Not fairly but we won.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  RangerFan

The most suspendable headshot of the series was Malkins cross check to the gob if we look at a history of similar infractions, recent suspensions and it occuring totally away from the puck in play. That isnt to say Troubas forearm to Guentzels head wasnt a blatent cheapie. Still believe the chicken wing incident was a bad product of stick placement (Trouba’s) and player reaction (Trouba tp stick depth through Sids legs after poke check and Sids reaction to impending contact). Guentzels goal was not a blown call. His blade was high but point of contact between puck and stick…which… Read more »

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  James

Foot eye to hand eye*

Nick
Nick
1 month ago

Nonsense. Letang was on ice and stood there for FOUR SECONDS after replacing Pettersson. And who is ‘Zbinijad’? Quit whining.

David
David
1 month ago

Had no idea Penguin fans were such sore losers. P**sys.

Johnny87
Johnny87
1 month ago
Reply to  David

You weren’t exactly graceful when you were losing. Or maybe it’s just because Penguin fans aren’t that used to losing as you.

TODD
TODD
1 month ago

Petterson could of stayed in the play according the the rules analyst on TBS. Instead he complained to get a penalty, but he should of kept in the play then when the play was over skated off to get a helmet. Penguins had plenty of chances with 3 on 5 power plays every game in the series. They blew a 3 to 1 series lead. Quite your whining! I guess you do have Sidney Cry Baby so it’s expected.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

1)Yes 2) Maybe but ot wasnt 12 feet either if you use his proximity to.the net and the net dimensions for scale 3) probably….as he said…heat of the moment you may not do what the rules allow for when same have been written in the coziness of a non competative enironment. I do apppreciate Pettersson saying Laff was falling…bc thats what ot looked like to me…he shaded over tp Laff both fell into net and Laff grabbed him.. .I dont think he tugged and tugged at the helmet looks more like it popped off like a squeezed pimple…but these are… Read more »

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  James

Apologies forn the typos

James Vega
James Vega
1 month ago

I love that you wrote “gifts” the Rangers a win like the Penguins didn’t lead by a goal twice in the game. Or that they had a 3-1 series lead or that in games 5 and 6 they had a 2-0 lead and blew both of them. But then you also fail to talk about how the Penguins were “gifted” game 1. I guess whining runs rampant through Pittsburgh

Stan Kaplan
Stan Kaplan
1 month ago

Pens please. Don’t trade high picks, get old guys playing their last year, hand out no trade clauses and keep players too long. Add some youth, speed and grit. Sit players who insist on doing dumb stuff repeatedly.

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