Hockey fans the world over have grown increasingly tiresome of players diving and embellishing in order to draw a penalty. Television pundits continue to complain about it, players complain about the other team (but never their own guys) and it is seemingly a problem that needs to be addressed.
We don’t want hockey to become like soccer, right? You know, when a player falls to the grass and rolls around on the pitch, seemingly in agony, only to pop right up and continue as nothing happened.
While the NHL has yet to see things that bad there have been plenty of examples of players ‘struggling’ with gravity. These struggles seem to grow late in games and in the playoffs.
What can be done about it?
According to Dan Rosen of NHL.com, the players have an idea.
That’s right, a group of NHL players met with the league this week to look at rules enforcement and have the idea to create a list of embellishers that is to be posted in every arena and delivered to on-ice officials. This list could be named the ‘Ryan Kesler Files’, or perhaps ‘Marchand and Friends’, depending on which way your loyalties lean.
The idea that players will stop diving to keep their names off of some list is as laughable as a Joe Thornton dive.
Don’t we already know who the biggest culprits are? Aren’t there guys on each and every team who dive?
There are, and they have already been publicly ripped in the media and by fans. Do you really think someone like Brad Marchand will care that people have put him on the list. A player like Marchand lives to get under your skin, being on a list will not faze him in any way. In fact, it may encourage him.
Rosen’s article states that NHL Vice President Colin Campbell feels that the players, and it would seem the league, don’t have any interest in using supplementary discipline on these players. Embarrassment should suffice.
The league has rules that say diving is not allowed and even has language that suspensions could be in order for repeat offenders. Why aren’t they enforced?
These are the rules that need to be enforced if the league wants players to take it seriously, not some silly list of guys who won’t be getting presents from Santa.
One problem is that when a referee calls diving, he also evens up the call by calling the hook, or holding, or whatever call the diver was trying to get. This is where the league needs to be focusing. If a guy obviously goes down without being tripped, call the one penalty, call the dive.
From there create your list. Establish a threshold of how many dives is too many and suspend the player for a game when he crosses it. That will do much more to curb the problem than naming a name will do.
Diving will continue to be a tricky problem to tackle for the NHL. Part of the problem is that every team dives and yet every team will deny they do. The players should not have to police diving with a list of the naughty. The league already has rules in place to address diving. It’s time they enforced those rules.
Andrew writes about the WHL and NHL Draft Prospects. He also covers the Seattle Thunderbirds for 710 ESPN Seattle and spent two years with Sportsnet. Follow him on Twitter @andyeide.