Sunday, April 27, 2008


Much has been made in the last 36 hours about diving in the NHL playoffs. Why did it take so long? Because it took that long for the coach of the NEW YORK Rangers to say something. I mean, who cares if the coach of the Flyers or the coach of the Bruins thinks Crosby is a diver? As soon as the coach of the Rangers speaks, everyone around hockey listens. The Rangers find themselves down 2-0 now, as they lost 2-0 earlier Sunday to Pittsburgh. I'm sure that it's the flailing diver Crosby's fault, too. After Renney's comments on Friday, everyone tried to downplay the rather whiny words.

But the damage is done. It's now a topic. Want proof? How about the stupid behavior of Jaromir Jagr in Sunday's game?

Listen. I'm not here to say that hockey players don't embellish or dive on occasion. In fact, I'd argue that basically every skill player in the league has done it at least once in a key spot. Frankly, I don't think there's any way to stop it. Even with "diving" in the rule book, the gutless officials who work these games refuse to call it as a "stand alone" penalty, instead using "diving" along with "hooking" or whatever to create a four-on-four situation.

What good does that do?

The first time a team in a playoff game is short-handed because one of their skill guys took a dive, players will start thinking twice before they dive.

In the meantime, the aforelinked (I know...not a word) Scott Burnside piece has a quote from Ranger Brendan Shanahan that sums up the whole situation very well. Perhaps his head coach should heed the words.
"I know the guys in this room respect him and the way he plays, and he plays hard," Shanahan said. "He's around the puck a lot. He makes second and third efforts that are going to sometimes drop him down to his knees and on the ice. Sometimes that's just the way he plays. I don't think he's necessarily diving, but he's the type of player who will dive for loose pucks and dive for second and third efforts. And I think he plays an all-out, all-effort style sometimes the referees can confuse with somebody fouling him."
Well done, old man.

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