Did Fleury remove helmet on purpose?


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Marc-Andre Fleury's helmet falls off during the second period on Saturday. -- MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

Marc-Andre Fleury has been known to test the rules at times.

Just last season, Fleury made headlines when he was busted by an official for building a wall of snow in his crease to block the empty net:

Fleury appeared to try to push the limits in a moment during the Golden Knights' 3-0 win over the Penguins on Saturday night at PPG Paints Arena.

In the final minute of the second period, with the Golden Knights clinging to a 1-0 lead, Fleury's helmet popped off during a flurry of activity in his crease:


The section on goaltenders' helmets in the NHL rule book is as follows:

"When a goalkeeper has lost his helmet and/or face mask and his team has control of the puck, the play shall be stopped immediately to allow the goalkeeper the opportunity to regain his helmet and/or face mask.

When the opposing team has control of the puck, play shall only be stopped if there is no immediate and impending scoring opportunity. This stoppage of play must be made by the Referee. When play is stopped because the goalkeeper has lost his helmet and/or face mask, the ensuing face-off shall take place at one of the defending team’s end zone face-off spots.

When a goalkeeper deliberately removes his helmet and/or face mask in order to secure a stoppage of play, the Referee shall stop play as outlined above and in this case assess the goalkeeper a minor penalty for delaying the game. If the goalkeeper deliberately removes his helmet and/or face mask when the opposing team is on a breakaway, the Referee shall award a penalty shot to the nonoffending team, which shot shall be taken by the player last in possession of the puck.”

So, the Penguins had control of the puck, and there was no immediate scoring opportunity, so play was blown dead. However, if Fleury intentionally removed his helmet, he should have been hit with a delay of game penalty.

Looking at the overhead angle, it sure looks like Fleury intentionally removed the helmet. When Joseph Blandisi, the player who fell on Fleury, moves out of the way, Fleury's mask was still on. He appeared to quickly reach up and pull it off:

The fans certainly thought there should have been a call on the play, and boos rained down after the stoppage. Patric Hornqvist immediately skated to the officials to ask why there wasn't any call:

Mike Sullivan was looking for a call as well.

"I thought it should have been a penalty," said Sullivan. "But to the referee's defense, it's really difficult when there's a mass of humanity in the crease."

What did Fleury have to say for himself?

"Somebody fell on me and it was all crooked," he said after a laugh. "I tried to fix it and it came off."

A reporter pressed Fleury a little more on the subject.

"No, I think it was just that I was in a windy tunnel," Fleury said with another laugh. "That’s why the mask came off. I don't know, I was just battling trying to stop the puck and win a game here."


What's that saying, again?

"If you're not cheating, you're not trying hard enough?"


[caption id="attachment_904299" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Penguins vs. Golden Knights, PPG Paints Arena, Oct. 19, 2019 -- MATT SUNDAY / DKPS[/caption]

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