With such a long pause between games, it’s easy to forget some of the new rules the NHL put in place prior to the start of the season. One of those changes, an update to Rule 9.6, cost Calgary’s Erik Gustafsson in Tuesday’s exhibition game against the Oilers.
Gustafsson was hit hard along the boards by Edmonton’s Zack Kassian, losing his helmet as a result.
Instead of going directly to the bench or retrieving his bucket, Gustafsson picked up his stick and hustled back to rejoin the play. You can’t do that anymore.
Referee Kelly Sutherland whistled the play dead and sent Gustafsson to the box for playing without a helmet.
“I’m talking to him the whole time,” Sutherland told Flames Derek Forbort on the ice after the call. “He turned to play the man, so I’ve gotta call that.”
From the NHL Rulebook, under section 9.6:
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.
The Flames were able to kill off Gustafsson’s penalty, which hopefully serves as a reminder to all the players to brush up on the rulebook.