Thursday, September 11, 2014

Divers Beware: NHL Releases Rule Changes for 2014-2015 Season

Today, the NHL released a series of rule changes that will go into effect this coming season (which starts in only 27 days!).  The most notable of these changes is the supplementary disciple that will be doled out to the Canadiens—I mean, players who are repeatedly penalized for diving and embellishment.

The new fine system is illustrated in the following chart from

However, these fines are useless if referees aren’t calling the penalties in the first place.

The integrity of the game of hockey relies upon the NHL cracking down on the embellishment and diving that some players and organizations are known to exhibit quite regularly.

Anyone who watched the FIFA World Cup this summer knows how much diving can sully an otherwise great game.  There are few things more frustrating than watching a player, after receiving a minor bump from an opponent, swan dive onto the field and roll around in agony, only to be instantly healed once a foul has been called.

The fate of flopping, in any sport, depends on how the referees handle it.  When a player dives and is then rewarded with a foul call or penalty, the message is quite clear:  You can play the game the right way and stay on your feet, or you can take a dive, get your team a power play and put them in a position to score a goal that could decide the game.

Diving is cheating, plain and simple.  The definition of cheating is “to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage.” Is pretending to get hit in the face with a stray stick to garner a high-sticking penalty not dishonest?  Is throwing yourself down after a slight hook not acting unfairly in order to gain an advantage?

The NHL cannot allow embellishment and diving to become strategic plays.  Players and teams should not be rewarded for pretending to fall or be hurt.  So here’s to an increase in embellishment calls and fines until they are no longer necessary.

To see the complete list of rule changes, click here.

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