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Vulgar Opinions: Almost Every Player Dives (NSFW)

11/10/11
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This comes on the heels of the Sabres 6-5 victory over the neo-Thrashers the other night in which many around the league accused the Sabres of diving, Derek Roy in particular.  My opinion is this: it’s frustrating when the NHL calls things different ways game to game (i.e. what actions in a post-whistle scrum constitute a penalties), but the best way to not take penalties is to not commit them and Atlantapeg failed to do that on Tuesday night.

But let’s talk about diving for a minute.  Virtually every player dives, even the so-called tough guys.  I’ve played hockey, I’ve been hit in the face with a stick, and I barely feel it…and I’m not a big tough macho NHLer that’s paid millions of dollars to be a masochist.  You can’t convince me that more than 10% of the reactions to high sticks genuinely convey the pain being felt.

What’s important is the why.  These guys aren’t embellishing calls because they’re not tough, they’re doing it because the refs don’t notice everything.  To them it’s less fair for a high stick to go unpunished than it is for them to roll around on the ice like their face was lopped clean off.  In their minds, they’re helping the game get called as it should.  Of course if they do that, then they’re toeing a fine line that they’ll inevitably cross when a guy doesn’t do enough to merit a penalty, but the victim reacts anyways out of habit.

Personally I disagree.  I took a stick to the face from a goalie last season (on a breakaway…thanks asshole) that gave me an immediate black eye and I didn’t even react.  Being the toughest son of a bitch out on the ice (or tile) is part of my game and I feel that I gain more in having that kind of aura than I do in helping the refs call penalties.  Plus I know that if I’m thinking about embellishing a call, I’m not thinking about playing hockey.  That won’t do.

But I recognize that it has merits.  It’s not always the Staal-ian attempt to get your team a powerplay for nothing, sometimes it’s “holy fuck I just got tomahawked in the goddamn face and no one saw it even though said face is now leaking out onto the ice…I’m going to fall down instead of skating to the bench.”  It is what it is, and it’s not what it isn’t…which is unique.  So NHL fans can pipe down a little on the diving…unless you’re talking about Eric Staal…because fuck that guy.

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