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Hellebuyck calls for rule change: Refs 'put me in danger' vs. Stars

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Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck disagrees with how the referees handled Friday's controversial goal call versus the Dallas Stars that could have cost Winnipeg the game against its Central Division rivals.

Winnipeg had a 4-3 lead late in the third period when Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey pushed Stars captain Jamie Benn at the side of the net, which caused the forward to make contact with Hellebuyck's head. Hellebuyck's helmet came off, and he remained face down on the ice, but play continued.

Around four seconds after the collision, and with Hellebuyck out of position, Stars phenom Jason Robertson scored into the yawning cage to tie the game with 20 seconds remaining in regulation.

The veteran netminder thinks play should have stopped once he no longer had his helmet on.

"Those refs made a mistake. ... They put me in danger," Hellebuyck told reporters Saturday. "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."

He added, "I'm glad that I didn't have to speak last night because I know a lot more now than I did then. I was a lot more emotional then. ... Just like a player who loses his helmet has to go to the bench ... the same thing should apply for a goalie."

Following a lengthy video review initiated by the situation room, it was deemed that the goal counted since Morrissey was the one who forced Benn into Hellebuyck. In addition, Rule 9.6 of the NHL rulebook states that if a goalkeeper has lost his helmet while the opposing team has control of the puck, play should only be stopped if there's no immediate scoring opportunity.

Hellebuyck argued that since the Stars were able to complete a couple of passes leading up to Robertson's goal, the scoring chance wasn't immediate.

"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."

Hellebuyck said the feeling in his neck was "very scary" and that he wasn't sure if he would be able to get up at first.

Fortunately for the Jets, Hellebuyck was able to remain in the contest, and Morrissey iced the winner in overtime.

The Jets improved to 12-6-1 thanks to the victory, while the Stars dropped to 12-5-4.

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