In some news that isn’t lockout-related, last month the NHL held rule enforcement meetings to study things like uncalled incidents of hooking, holding and such to use in consideration of altering or changing rules. Some players in attendance even told referees in attendance how they get away with little things that should maybe be called. (When pushed to reveal the secrets to the media, though, referees did not.)
Also at the rule enforcement meetings, those in attendance put together a list of the league’s divers. No, not the kind who win gold at the Olympics, the kind who are known to embellish, to put it nicely, to gain an advantage in terms of getting penalties called against the initiator of the contact.
While most of the names on the list are still private, some of them have leaked like water from the ears of a swimmer: Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks chief among them.
“While Kesler plays the game hard, he has been known to exaggerate contact to gain an advantage,” said TSN’s Darren Dreger about the diving list.
Kesler is not the only name on the list, though. Dan Carcillo of the Chicago Blackhawks is also on there, his embellishing caught on tape, including one occasion that Dreger describes as him pretending to have been hit in the face with a stick.
Even Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin is on the list for “attempting to mislead referees,” as Dreger puts it, and again he gives an example of an occasion like that during last spring’s contentious playoff series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers.
So, how could the league try to cut back on incidents of embellishing? There are a few ideas in the works, including one that is a little more unexpected than the others: put pictures of embellishers in NHL dressing rooms.
A system of fines could be reinstated or the referees could choose to make embellishing a double minor penalty as well. In all likelihood, the double minor thing seems like the most easily implemented punishment, followed by tacking on some fines, maybe for frequent divers. That would be similar to what the junior OHL is doing for players who fight more than 10 times in a season: assessing them suspensions and monetary fines that would be felt very heavily in the wallets of junior players who make $50 a week.
As for their big brothers on the NHL level who “exaggerate contact” or “mislead referees”? More concrete details about the plans for them may come to light soon and new punishments may await when the season begins–whenever that will be.