This week the NHL organized a summit consisting of NHL officials, general managers, referees and players to discuss penalties. For a while now there has been some confusion amongst referees, coaches and players as to what exactly it takes for players to end up spending two or more minutes in the penalty box.
Penalties like tripping, hooking and interference were meant to be among the most discussed topics, but diving (a term used to describe players embellishing in order to draw a penalty) surfaced to become the main top of discussion.
What is diving or embellishment? The official NHL rule book states, “Any player who blatantly dives, embellishes a fall or a reaction, or who feigns an injury shall be penalized with a minor penalty under this rule.”
NHL.com reported on Wednesday that NHL Director of Operations and ex-NHL disciplinarian, Colin “The Sheriff” Campbell, told them the players wanted to have a list of “divers” distributed to on-ice referees and also to teams, so that posters could be posted on bulletin boards in arenas. According to NHL.com, Colin Campbell had this to say,
“[The players], want to get (the list) out there. They want the player to be caught, whether it’s on the ice by the referee or by us on video. They are all tired of diving. The object is to make them stop eventually and, by doing that, they can get it out there around the league, embarrass them. The referees will know it, too, so the divers don’t get the benefit of the doubt.”
Last year, NHL referees called 33 penalties on players for embellishment. It’s a number that could’ve and should’ve been higher. Not to mention it feels like more than half the time when they finally do call embellishment on a player, they more often then not still call a penalty on the other player involved.
I can understand peoples frustrations with the current system, because like them I’m often left frustrated myself, trying to figure out what just happened and why a penalty was just called. So while It’s nice to see the NHL and its players working together to try and fix it, I’d rather they bang out the CBA and then if there is time go back and publicly humiliate the divers.
However, I think we all can agree that this is ice hockey and we can leave the diving for the Summer Olympic Games, soccer (futbol) and basketball.
As always we welcome your commentary and comments below. Feel free to follow Billy Bryson on Twitter @BillyBrysonNHL and thanks for reading!