What’s even more impressive about Maxim Lapierre’s game-winning goal last night is that earlier in the game he was shot in the stomach by Zdeno Chara.

The fact that Lapierre was able to recover from such a clearly devastating injury and continue playing is the kind of stuff that “History Will Be Made” commercials are made of.

Thanks to SBNation for the video.

One of the problems with many NHL players right now is that they snap their heads back and tumble to the ice after the slightest hint of contact. See our “Let’s Go Diving” post for a few more examples of this behaviour. These actions seem to increase in frequency as the games become more important, which has turned the Stanley Cup Final into a poorly-choreographed and badly-acted professional wrestling match. For a sport that takes such pride in toughness, it’s pretty embarrassing.

Players likely act this way since NHL referees seem to notice a high stick more when you snap your head back than one where the play continues without missing a beat. We can understand a bit of embellishment here and there as a way to draw attention to the fact that you’ve been fouled. It happens in almost every sport.

However, there’s a difference between snapping your head back a bit when you actually have been high-sticked and falling to the ice like both your legs have been broken and staying there motionless because someone else’s stick touched your skate.

And referees recognize that.

They won’t give a player like Maxim Lapierre the benefit of the doubt in situations like the one with Chara. By repeatedly making the referee’s look bad and making a mockery of the game, all players like Lapierre are doing is hurting their own team. Yes, Lapierre scored a huge goal for Vancouver and he’s certainly a valuable member of the Canucks and a big part of their team, but he’s not doing himself any favours with the officials with his actions.

If that was another player who was speared by Chara and that player didn’t react as if he just took a cannonball to the gut, Chara may have received a penalty there and the Canucks may have gone on the power play. That’s how diving hurts your team.

According to On the Forecheck, Lapierre received the most diving penalties during the regular season. The referees know his reputation and they’re not willing to allow themselves to look like fools when Lapierre flops down after a weak shot.

Take a look at this video for example:

Lucic likely should have been given a penalty here. However, since the referees don’t want to be embarrassed by anyone embellishing a hit, both Lucic and Burrows were sent to the box. Burrows was given a penalty for “unsportsmanlike conduct.” It was the referees telling the teams not to embellish. The Canucks’ reputation cost them a power play in this situation.

Is it right for officials to hand out penalties based on reputation? Probably not. But you can understand where they’re coming from. The only way to stop this behaviour from players is to show that nothing can be gained from doing it.

Comments (11)

  1. Well we are back at it, the ref makes a call for embellishment wrong wrong wrong Ithought that the ref had to be 100 percent sure I like Lucic but that was a slue foot no matter if the other player is known for play acting at times but this wasn’t the case don’t you realize what the league ref are saying, that is called discrimination in my view.

  2. Going back to Max Lapierre same thing Chara spearing could attempted spearing suppose to be ZERO tolerance it do not matter the intent is there what happen to the in control of your stick you are not suppose to even touch a player sure Lapierre WAS SHOWBOATING but if that’s what it takes to open up the ref s eyes so be it. Crosschecking in the back when in front of the net ridiculous crosschecking is a penalty.Man what is going on if these refs where judges they would have coruption written all over them.

  3. you shouldnt be allowed to poke people with a stick, wether you sell it good or not it shouldnt be allowed, also with tripping someone from behind with your foot, by no means am i a vancouver fan or boston fan, but this shouldnt be happening, why do they get a penalty for diving but marchand doesnt get one for cleaning his hands? falls under unsportsmanlike conduct does it not?

  4. The officials continue to punish the Canucks for the Rome/Horton hit & that is far more evident. It appears the Bruins have to kill someone before they the Refs do their jobs & stop the cheap shots! Poor on the NHL not to intercede & lay down the rules.

  5. I agree that diving should be penalized to the fullest extent, but at the same time, the things that cause them to dive need to be looked at as well. Chara spearing him is worse than Lapierre embellishing. Lucic clearly slew footed Burrows, he didnt have much of a chance to stay standing. I do like they gave them both penalties on that play though as they were equally guilty of pissing around before the faceoff.

  6. You are full of shit Danielle!

  7. Look. Everyone hates divers. It is NOT a part of the game and I get this.

    But shouldn’t we look at the flip side of this arguement? Everyone knows that there are two sets of rules: one for the regular season and one for the playoffs. Why is this? Didn’t the NHL decide all the hacking/holding was ruining the game and we needed an overhaul? Why in the playoffs does this change?

    The dives are in part due to the change in the rules fomr the regular season to the playoffs. The Canucks are what most would consider the more skilled team. To keep the series close, the Bruins are trying to “goon” it up a little. Look at the stick work on the Sedins. Every possible chance the Sedins are slashed/hacked. I know the Canucks do it as well but I would say Bruins do it more. Becuase it is the playoffs, the refs let it happen.

    The response, in part, then is to dive. If you are not going to call it unless I go down, you are forcing me to sell all the calls. A slash is a penalty even if I don’t stumble or limp away. But if you don’t call it unless I do embelish guess what I will do. Same as the jab by Chara. That post-whistle jab was unprovoked and by the rules illegal. But the refs won’t call it unless it causes pain, so Maxim bends over.

    NO I AM NOT SAYING DIVING IS RIGHT. Nor am I saying the Canucks are not diving. They are (although not as much as Bruins fans/media are saying). But Sedins are hacked EVERY SHIFT with no calls. And when Sedins dive once, they are called villians. Well guess what refs. If you actually made the proper calls. The ones that were calls in the regular season. There would be no reason to dive.

    I wish the Canucks wouldn’t dive but I can see why they feel the need to. I am probably rationalizing some due to being a Canucks fan, but it is clear that a tactic of the Bruins is to goon/hack etc every possible chance to make this series ugly. And the refs are letting it happen. I know the Canucks PP isn’t scoring but the refs are in part the reason for the diving.

  8. Hey Danielle you are partially right but the culprit here is whoever took charge upstairs the new man I am sure that you know who it is and to take over responsibility about one day on the job well the call on Rome this is very important was a delay interference call whatever
    so this is for him to base this on that call a second or even two seconds before impact try to make a 2 second decision to brake your car to stop I bet your reaction time in 2seconds would not be enough.Mr. Murphy did not follow protocall step down and let Mr. Shannahan handle this and as for Mr. Horton I wish him a speedy recovery and note before you make a right turn into traffic check the angle of your feet Mr. Rome had no choice here but to protect himself .

  9. That Lucic call is BS, Burrows did the exact same thing to him about two seconds before, and should have gotten TWO minors for that and the dive.

  10. I am not a Vancouver or Boston fan but till we get someone with a brain to run the NHL and make the REFS accountable for what they call or not call on the ice we are going to have to put up with the same garbage every game because the REFS are a JOKE and not just in the playoffs how many nites were they asleep at the wheel with blown calls nite in nite out.
    Time for house cleaning starting at the top with Gart(little hitler)Betman needs to go.

  11. [...] Vancouver, and there never has been, but the few missed calls can easily be attributed to the neck-snapping from the likes of Alex Burrows and Maxim Lapierre. Telling penalty from non-penalty becomes considerably more difficult when even the slightest [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *