A little over a month ago, we heard word that the NHL was considering creating a “Diver’s List.” As in, putting together an official roster of guys with a history of diving with the intent of somehow shaming them publicly, and hoping they’ll do it less.

Darren Dreger wrote about the concept yesterday for TSN.ca:

Players, coaches, managers and officials who participated in league meetings in August agreed embellishment has once again become an issue.

Vancouver Canucks centre Ryan Kesler has been identified as an offender. While Kesler plays the game hard, he has been known to exaggerate contact to gain an advantage.

He goes on to highlight Evgeni Malkin and Dan Carcillo as another two names that would likely be on the list, before getting to what the punishment would be:

Everything from posting pictures of each culprit in every NHL dressing room to re-instituting a fine system, or simply tacking on an additional two-minute penalty to offset the original call is being discussed by hockey operations and will at some point be presented to all NHL general managers for further discussion.

I’m okay with fines for repeat offenders. I don’t know if that’ll even do much to deter anybody, but at least it’ll be a minor inconvenience for them, like playing against a diver. (By the way, if they want fines to really matter, they should make guys pay in some horribly annoying manner – make them bring the fine to the NHL head offices in nickels in under three days or something. …I really should be commissioner, I know.)

But that anyone thinks putting up pictures in every dressing room is a good idea is hilarious. What’s that supposed to accomplish? Get opponents to chirp them about embellishing so they’ll stop? Do they think guys who dive don’t already get chirped? Pests pride themselves on their pest-iness.

That would be vastly underestimating how confident NHLers are. I am NOT a diver! To prove it, I’m gonna try extra hard to stay on my feet! That, and if I may say, it’s just weird. Put the pictures up in the refs dressing room if you insist on doing it.

But then there’s the other big question: why is embellishing the World’s Worst Thing? I know it’s dishonest, chicken-shit, and I’d like to see it disappear as much as anyone, but it certainly isn’t a morally different form of cheating than intentionally doing something else illegal mid-game and hoping to get away with it. (As my post earlier today highlighted, we all do that stuff from time to time.)

I liked Harrison Mooney’s take on it earlier today:

 

 Check Harrison’s @ replies to see a deeper look at his take on it.

If we’re going to punish divers specifically (as opposed to say, the guys who repeatedly take slashing penalties), a “public shaming” isn’t the way to go. Take a little green out of their wallets, because it’s only a matter of time until everyone is flat used to the pictures in the room, the list, and all the rest.

Comments (15)

  1. Justin,
    As a former hockey player you have to see that there is a fine line between minor dirty play to put yourself ahead (I have always been a fervent user of the butt end) and diving to put your team ahead. Sure they both are technically penalties, but one is the subtle use of the pace of the game and your on-ice awareness and the other is simply acting, stage play, a major inconvenience to on-ice officials, and detrimental to those who are fighting there way through stick checks. The purpose of penalties is to punish overly aggressive penalties. If a player lays a small cross check rather than a hard one just to let someone know he’s there and the player he cross check dives, who’s to say the next crosscheck won’t be to someones teeth? Just my two cents.

    Jay

  2. My problem with diving is when you do all that other stuff, you’re the only one called for a penalty. When you dive, more often than not you take an opposing player with you.

  3. According to behindthenet.com , Dustin Brown has led the league in “penalties drawn” for 4 of the last 5 years. In 2008, he had 50% more penalties than Malkin, who was a very distant second. Brown was second in the league to Skinner the one year he didn’t take the title. Somehow Brown never gets any of this type of attention? I’m puzzled.

    • He does get attention from some of the Kings fans who watch him regularly. We notice it. I think you could chalk some of it to flying under the radar, being on a west coast team that was not very good up until a few years ago. With that said, Brown plays a pretty physical game compared to guys like Kesler and Malkin, so it’s not impossible that he would draw more retaliatory penalties for his hard hitting.

      • Fair enough. But I’d suggest there’s something more going on than retaliation to hard hits when you leave the rest of the hard hitters in your “penalties drawn” dust year after year, after year.

        • I agree. Like I said, LA fans who watch the team regularly have spoken up about his diving. We see it. We don’t like it. I think that he gets less noticed for diving for a combination of reasons.

          I wouldnt be at all surprised to see him take more than an expected amount of diving calls this season now that he’s in the spot light.

    • Kevin, you haven’t been around the Pacific Div much. Brown is reviled for his dives. Breath on him the wrong way and he hurls himself into the boards. And he gets a ton of calls. The thing I hate most abut the Kings winning the cup is that Diving Dustin Brown is the American captain of a really good team. He has the ability to play the game in a stand-up manner but chooses to act like a Steve Ott half the time. I might like that kind of player, but I sure wouldn’t want him as my captain.

  4. This is coming from someone based in the UK, just for context.

    If you watch a game of modern football (soccer) then it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll watch a game without 2 or 3 dubious incidents.

    Examples
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jc-xuLu98Bw&noredirect=1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiW0IPrv1Ro

    I don’t watch football anymore as it’s an embarrassing spectacle, players claim for every touch, tap, tackle and hassle the referee to practically execute the player who dared go within 10ft of them.

    Hockey is a harder sport by nature, so seeing things like Kesler’s tumbleweed antics just make me think that hockey might be going down the same path.

    Football is apparently ‘the beautiful game’ and it can be at times but the modern game is a joke and I believe that diving and embellishment are at the root of the problem.

    I don’t think a WANTED poster in every locker room is the solution but stiffer fines for play that frankly is embarrassing are a start.

    Hit ‘em in the wallet, if you’re losing 10% of your salary on a regular basis, you’ll soon think about changing your ways either that or your wife/girlfriend ditches you for someone who can stay upright on a regular basis.

    • Our attitudes to diving are largely skewed by our culture. Diving is generally accepted in Europe as gamesmanship, but vilified in North America as embarrasing. We choose to call it embarrasing simply because we have been told that that’s the way to think.

      I also find it odd that North Americans question the integrity of diving players, but do not question the integrity of officials who choose to change the rules when applying them to percieved divers.

      Human perceptions are indeed odd.

      • I think it’s a little more subtle than “thinking what we’re told.”

        A soccer field is huge and there’s only one ref. Enhancing contact (to put it diplomatically) might be the only way to show that you were fouled on a long run. But even so, just listen to the jeering whistles when a guy goes down soft to try to draw a kick. It may be tolerated as necessary but nobody seems to really care for it.

        In addition, soccer is not a full-contact sport the way hockey is. A hockey player going over in a heap at the least bump – as if the game wasn’t full of far stronger – is kind of absurd.

        The culture of the two sports is different in large part because the two sports are different. Where I would agree with you is how the two different sports grew out of two different cultures, and how they’ve developed over time as they were embraced internationally…

  5. They need to actually just penalize guys for diving instead of giving the unsportsmanlike and as well as whatever penalty the other player supposedly committed. Put the diver’s team down a man.

  6. Mooney should be given a 10 minute misconduct for being such a canuck fanboy.

  7. For an example of real public shaming, google “Hello Kitty Armband”.

  8. As clutch and grab returns to the NHL I think it’s only natural to expect the skill guys to compensate/take advantage by embellishing. Say what you will about diving, clutch and grab is equally lame and hurts the game far more than diving IMHO. It’s starting to again resemble pre-lockout hockey…….well the lockout before this one anyway.

  9. Along with goals, saves and hits of the week, the NHL Network should feature ‘dives’ of the week, and have the official scorers from the Olympics or Rodney Dangerfield’s ‘Back to School,’ to give scoring,

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