Among the things have no place is sports is blatant, center stage cheating, Perhaps the most common, and inexcusable form is diving. It’s not called often enough, sadly it is most often called in conjunction with the tripping, hooking, high sticking or interference events that inspire the dive. It can’t be both, but if the referees are going to call both make the liars hurt. There are fines clearly stated in the rulebook, but honestly those may not be enough.
In my mind referees should be able to rule that something was enough of an infraction to make the mechanical requirements for a hook or high stick, and not be enough to actually impede or endanger the attacked player. In this case both calls would be correct. But, that’s not really enough to eradicate the problem. The solution is to make the dive or embellishment a more costly penalty.
There are three main options that present themselves.
- Call the dive and an unsportsmanlike penalty on the same play even if the other team is penalized, leading to two players serving two minutes for the infraction and potentially leading to a powerplay for the team who committed the act that met only the mechanical requirements for an infraction.
- Make the dive a double minor. From five on five play this would lead to four on four play for two minutes, and then a two minute penalty kill for the embellishing players team.
- Make diving a five minute major. Even if the mechanical requirements for a hook, trip or other call were met.
Number one is probably the easiest to implement now as it would not require an in season rule change, or a wait until next season to implement. Like the “Avery Rule” it would be an interpretation change. Realistically it could be an intermediary step to one of the other options.
Number two and number three to me have the most appeal. I think implementing both might actually be the right answer. Option two the double minor would probably be the best option to use when there is an action by the opponent that would warrant a penalty if it were to continue or connect. Option three in making a dive or embellishment a major (possibly with video review) if unaccompanied by an opponents infraction or potential infraction.
If the NHL is serious about providing role models in the form of it’s players, this fairly minor set of adjustments to the rules is the simplest thing they could do all year to improve the integrity of the game.
What’s your call?