Something I don’t understand

I was watching the Blue Jackets last night, and I saw something that as a soccer referee I don’t understand:



David Savard  Slashing against  Chris Kunitz



Chris Kunitz  Diving against  David Savard

The NHL rule for diving is here:

64.1 Diving / Embellishment – Any player who blatantly dives, embellishes a fall or a reaction, or who feigns an injury shall be penalized with a minor penalty under this rule.

A goalkeeper who deliberately initiates contact with an attacking player other than to establish position in the crease, or who otherwise acts to create the appearance of other than incidental contact with an attacking player, is subject to the assessment of a minor penalty for diving / embellishment.

As a soccer referee, I can understand calling a foul.  I can also understand calling and cautioning someone for a dive for either no contact or light non-sanctionable contact.  I’ll do the first a dozen or more times a game, and I’ll do the second several times a year.  However, I have a hard time wrapping my head around calling both at the same time. 

If the player who went down went down because of a legitimate foul, then it is not a dive.  It is, at most, bad theatrics as the referee is not being deceived.  The down player got whacked and got whacked good enough for the ref to make the penalty/foul call.  If the player dove or embellished to buy a cheap foul, then he was not fouled.  I understand the desire to get diving out of the game, but my hang-up is where is it a dive versus a legitimate attempt by a fouled player to make sure the referee saw the foul?





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51 replies
  1. 1
    Buffalo Rude says:

    Hockey fans don’t understand it much, either.

  2. 2
    Samuel Knight says:

    Can see that in general either OR would rule. But this actually makes sense. You can be fouled and then fake that you are badly hurt. You can easily be slashed by a hockey stick and not go down. You can be bumped in the penalty box is soccer and not go down.

    In fact last night in the Bayern – Real game the Real defenders fomr my point of view should have gotten a couple yellows for faking. The worst was when Pepe rolled around when Bayern had the ball a couple of yards from the box and by the rules of good sportsmanship got Bayern to kick out of bounds.

    And of course in the World Cup there have been more than a few incidents where a player has been fouled, makes a huge scene about it and gets the ref to draw a red. Worst example ever Portugal -Netherlands 2006 World Cup. Refs can cut that off by happily dishing yellows for simulation early.

  3. 3
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Just because you get slashed (valid penalty), does not give you the right to make it look worse by embellishment (also a penalty). It is entirely possible in hockey for both players to get penalties on the same play (think fighting).

  4. 4
    jake the snake says:

    Maybe basketball should follow soccer and hockey and start penalizing “flops”. However, since an uncalled flop usually results in an offensive advantage, and often results in an easy basket, maybe that is viewed as punishment enough

    I don’t follow soccer or hockey enough to realize that could be a penalty situation. Without having seen the play and understanding the rules, I really can’t judge. But it does defy logic that both could be called.But, going back to the basketball analogy, could it have been viewed like a “double foul”? A situation where both players were in violation.

  5. 5
    Waynski says:

    Having been a youth soccer Ref myself many moons ago, I agree with you. A foul is a foul. Attempts by the victim to draw attention to it, shouldn’t be penalized – in soccer. That said, in Hockey you have minor and major penalties. Getting a major penalty gives you a longer one man advantage on the ice, so trying to make it look worse than it was is to your advantage. It should be discouraged.

  6. 6
    NorthLeft12 says:

    If the slash draws blood, the offending player is pretty much always given a double minor, or a major penalty. The player that was slashed may have purposely caused himself to bleed to get that call. Don’t laugh, the Russians were constantly accused of biting their lips if there was any contact near their heads to incur the major penalty.

    Also, the NHL rules have been changed so that just swinging your stick at an opponent is the basis for a penalty. So it is possible that the player swung the stick at the other player, missed, and the other player took a dive to draw the penalty, not realizing that the call was going to be made anyway.

    I am actually impressed that the ref had the moxie to make this call.

    Yeah, us Canadians are a lot more complicated than you thought, eh?

  7. 7
    RareSanity says:

    I think @A Ghost To Most hit on the point I was going to make, but I’ll make it anyway…just to be sure. :-)

    Maybe the foul on Kunitz was more for violating the “embellishment” clause of the rule you quoted. The rule gives three cases of violation, and the second one might apply, without there being a conflict with the foul called on Savard.

    Any player who blatantly dives, embellishes a fall or a reaction, or who feigns an injury shall be penalized with a minor penalty under this rule.

    So maybe after being legitimately fouled by Savard, Kunitz decided he was going to go all drama queen, and act as if the foul was much worse than it actually was, in order to draw a harsher penalty for Savard than he would have received otherwise.

    That would reconcile those to calls, wouldn’t it?

  8. 8
    RSR says:

    Slashing, and other stick infractions like high stick, cross check, etc, are specific infractions related to the use of the stick. The infraction itself is the foul, whether or not the impacted player was put at disadvantage or injured. It is a punishment designed to require discipline in the use of equipment. A similar penalty in football would be the fask mask, although I think most incidents of face masking likely cause the infracted player a disadvantage.

    It is certainly possible to be ‘fouled’ by a slash or high stick and not really lose advantage or suffer injury, but feign such, and be penalized for doing so.

    In soccer, as body contact, I think the referee makes the decision if the infraction was worthy of a foul based on advantage gained or injury alone.

  9. 9
    dr. bloor says:

    Hey, Kunitz plays for the Penguins. More than enough reason to send him off AFAIC.

  10. 10
    hawerchuk says:

    I played hockey for many years before I refereed soccer. I would warn any embellisher, then card then on the second dive – regardless of whether they were fouled.

  11. 11
    RSR says:

    Regarding stick penalties, one interesting aspect is that on a follow through of a pass or shot, a player is allowed ‘accidental contact’ that does not result in a penalty.

    Players and goalkeepers must be in control and responsible for their stick. However, a player is permitted accidental contact on an opponent if the act is committed as a normal windup or follow through of a shooting motion.

    Marty Brodeur practically turned John LeClair into Frankenstein’s monster back in the 2000 playoffs with a high stick, but was not assessed a penalty, as it was on the follow through of a clearing attempt.

    John LeClair won’t be doing any photo shoots for GQ anytime soon. The Flyers winger has a stitch line running down the length of his nose and a swollen, black-and-blue right eye that is partially shut.

    All this – 39 stitches – after being hit in the face by Devils goalie Martin Brodeur’s stick on an attempted clearing pass behind the Devils’ net in Game 3 on Thursday night. LeClair said he would play Game 4 tonight with a face shield.

    “It’s a pretty good cut, but I feel fine,” he said yesterday, while wearing sunglasses. “It [the face shield] shouldn’t be a problem.”

    LeClair wore a shield some years ago after suffering a broken nose. Although he says Brodeur did not deserve a penalty, he admitted that because a goalie can’t be checked, players are at risk when they go after pucks against a goalie.

    Here’s a pic of the result:

  12. 12
    rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    What the clemency initiative tells us about President Obama

    At the end of his first term, President Obama had granted clemency to one person. Of course this led many people to conclude that he didn’t care about criminal justice reform or correcting the racial disparities in that system – especially those created by our “war on drugs.” As of this week, we know those conclusions were premature.

    The shift started early in the President’s second term when he basically announced an end to the war on drugs saying, “we simply cannot incarcerate our way out of the drug problem.” Then last December, he commuted the sentences of eight federal prisoners who were serving long sentences due to crack cocaine convictions prior to the Fair Sentencing Act. Of course there were plenty of progressives who took that as an opportunity to talk about the thousands of others who were not granted clemency and lecture President Obama about the importance of courage.

    But this was never about a lack of courage. Instead, its about a cultural bureaucracy that needed to be reformed.


  13. 13
    rikyrah says:

    NFL players talk about race with Harvard students
    — Apr. 23, 2014 7:15 PM EDT

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Richard Sherman was called all kinds of names after his raging rant at the end of the NFC championship game. It was worth it, the Seattle cornerback said, because it gave him a chance to talk about the perception of black athletes to a wider audience.

    First, at the Super Bowl.

    On Wednesday, at Harvard.

    “I wanted to educate the uneducated,” Sherman said in a discussion at the Harvard Business School. “I felt the need to turn the discussion on its head.”

    Sherman was mostly known only by football fans before his admittedly overexcited postgame trash-talk about Michael Crabtree after the Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers to win the NFC title. As he became the center of attention during Super Bowl week, Sherman chose not to back down from the comments.

    “I don’t regret anything about it,” he said, though he later conceded that it was a “bad moment.” ”I chose my words very carefully, though I couldn’t control my tone. My delivery left something to be desired. But I knew what I was doing. When they called me a ‘thug,’ I provoked a discussion.”

    That discussion took him to Harvard, along with former NFL Players Association President Domonique Foxworth, Houston Texans running back Arian Foster and Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald. They gave two talks, one at the business school that was supposed to be about social media that quickly veered into a discussion of race; the other, to undergraduates in historic Harvard Yard, was introduced as, “The Modern Black Male Athlete.”

    Both were packed with a standing-room crowd. A handful of attendees wore Seahawks jerseys or hats.

  14. 14
    Lee says:


    Please email the FCC commissoner and help prevent the breaking of the internet.

    Here is what I wrote:

    I recently read that the FCC plans to allow “fast lanes” within the
    internet, reversing your stance on Net Neutrality. It is unclear
    whether you deserve to lead the FCC. Your job is to protect the
    majority, the average American, and so your reversal can only mean you
    or the FCC has become corrupted by money and influence from the
    Comcasts, Verizons, and AT&Ts of this country.

    The fight for Net Neutrality and access to broadband in general is
    strikingly similar to the fight for delivering electricity to the
    American people in the 1930s and it will end no differently. The
    difference now is that the players in that earlier drama are mostly
    forgotten and now the internet never forgets.

    But it’s not too late for you to stand up for us, you know. History is
    filled with men who chose to do good despite the hardships. You can
    kill the fast lane and classify internet service providers as common
    carriers like they should have been classified a decade ago. You have
    the power to fix the errors of those who came before you. Or you can
    choose to to side against the American people and we will ensure the
    very vehicle that you sabotaged will be the medium used to solidify in
    history that though you made kings of yourselves, history will make
    you example of the sad, weak person that you ended up being. You, and
    by direct connection your family and legacy, will be branded as such
    for as long as the internet exists.

    I know that you used to work as a lobbyist for the cable companies,
    just as former FCC commissioner Meredith Baker went from being FCC
    commissioner to Senior VP of Comcast’s Government Affairs. I know you
    are likely being well paid, either directly or with a job offer
    sometime in the future, to favor the outcome the cable companies
    desire with regards to net neutrality.

  15. 15
    dmbeaster says:

    There is a simple reason for this. It is not always easy to tell the difference between a near non-foul which is then faked by a flop or dive, and a minor foul embellished to make sure it is called. To a degree, the ref relies on what things appear to be, which is why flopping works, since it simulates a more obvious foul.

    So why make things harder for the referee with the phony dramatics? That is why theatrics following an actual minor foul are a problem, and merits a rule. Although how is the referee then supposed to make this rather fine distinction when it is already hard to tell? Maybe the player “overreacted” because he was a klutz or simply caught out of position, and the minor foul actually caused the “dive.”

    The issue is obviously more acute in soccer due to low scoring and the sometimes much more dramatic consequences of a penalty resulting from a successful dive.

    Rules create bright lines that sometimes artificially try to separate two gray areas. So we rely on the judgment of referees to make the distinctions based on the underlying purpose of the rules, which then just reintroduces uncertainty and obscures the bright line rule. It is the never-ending problem with rules and laws, since so much of what they regulate defies easy bright line distinctions.

  16. 16
    dedc79 says:

    They use the dive call on occasion to shame/embarrass a player and make an example of them to try to keep everyone honest.

  17. 17
    rikyrah says:

    President Obama Tears Apart CNN’s Lazy and Biased Press Conference Question

    During a joint press conference with Prime Minister Abe of Japan, CNN embarrassed themselves with a biased question that President Obama dismantled with facts.[….]

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, Jim, let me unpack that question because there’s a whole bunch of assumptions in there, some of which I don’t agree with. First of all, the treaty between the United States and Japan preceded my birth, so obviously, this isn’t a “red line” that I’m drawing; it is the standard interpretation over multiple administrations of the terms of the alliance, which is that territories under the administration of Japan are covered under the treaty. There’s no shift in position. There’s no “red line” that’s been drawn. We’re simply applying the treaty.[….]

    With respect to the other issues that you raise, our position, Jim,
    the United States’ position is that countries should abide by
    international law[….] Now, the implication of the question I think is, is
    that each and every time a country violates one of those norms the United States should go to war, or stand prepared to engage militarily, and if it doesn’t then somehow we’re not serious about those norms.

    Well, that’s not the case. Right now, we have 87 percent of serious chemical weapons have already been removed from Syria. There’s about 13 percent left. That’s as a consequence of U.S. leadership. And the fact that we didn’t have to fire a missile to get that accomplished is not a failure to uphold those international norms, it’s a success. It’s not a complete success until we have the last 13 percent out.[….]

  18. 18
    smintheus says:

    It makes perfect sense. If I remember that incident correctly, there was a pretty mild slash to the gloves (?), which was used as a pretext by Kunitz to throw himself to the ice.

    Hockey is dangerous enough without players deliberately tossing themselves on the ice for no reason.

    Hockey also does not want to allow the growing swell of embellishment to turn into a soccer-like tsunami. So it makes sense to clamp down on dives as hard and as often as possible. In a super fast sport, they can ruin the game.

    Also yesterday, the Blackhawks were awarded a powerplay for one of the worst dives I’ve seen in the NHL (Patrick Sharp turning around from the boards and tossing himself onto the ice when nobody had touched him). They scored a goal, and went on to win in OT. Thus the Hawks stole a game with a dive.

  19. 19
    andrew long says:

    here you go:

    if you replay the first 4 seconds of the clip several times that shows the play in real time, you do get a sense that Kunitz was playing it up even a split second before the slash occurred. He yelled out too to make sure everyone was looking. And the slash itself was really just a garden-variety stick swing, not likely to bring him down in the way he went down.

  20. 20
    Punchy says:

    Hockey is a sport whose fouls I cannot figure out. How is interference different than boarding different than roughing? And slashing different than high-sticking?

    I love watching it, but I can never figure out the fouls aside from delay of game and goalie interference. Not even sure how “too many men on the ice” is determined while a shift change is occuring….

  21. 21
    Tommy says:

    Don’t most kids play soccer in their youth. Know I did back in the 70s. Niece starting to play. Brother was kind of stunned I had some skills. I was like it was years and years ago, but I can still dribble a soccer ball.

  22. 22
    mark says:

    If you think of the diving penalty as unsportsmanlike conduct it might help.

  23. 23
    Tommy says:

    @rikyrah: If I am not mistaken Richard Sherman went to and graduated from Stanford early. He came from a low income family in Compton. He openly talks about going to Stanford for the first time, the campus, and it was another world for him from where he grew up.

    I think one quote was “so this is how everybody else lives?”

    When folks were belittling the guy after his rant, and I started to dig, it made me like him more, not less.

  24. 24
    ronin122 says:

    Embelleshment can be made to turn a 2 minute minor into a 4 minute double minor (due to drawing blood or two separate fouls in the same play) or a 5 minute major. That’s where I think it comes into play, since in hockey not all penalties are made equal.

  25. 25
    patrick II says:

    Different game, but I watched Lebron James last week being intentionally fouled on a layup. The guy held his arms down as he went to the basket — a legitimate foul, but not a flagrant one. As Lebron went to the floor, he cocked his knees and pushed off and slid across the floor making it appear as if he had been flagrantly fouled and thrown under the basket. Lebron was trying to get the other guy kicked out for a flagrant foul. After review a regular foul was called, but I would have tacked on a flopping call against Lebron. Different game, but something like that may have happened.

    Lebron, in addition to being the “King” is also King of the flops.

  26. 26
    JustRuss says:

    @Tommy: +1. Although I’m not sure I buy his “I planned my rant” story. But given he’s a smart guy and he was handed a very bully pullpit for a few moments, I’m not saying I don’t believe it either.

  27. 27
    Schlemizel says:

    Hockey has this established tradition in which it is expected of the officials to call relatively the same number of penalties to both teams. This of course is in support of the thug requirement for the NHL but seeps into every level.

    Maybe the ref forgot what the count was & by calling both its a wash. Maybe He didn’t really know if it was a trip or a dive so he is covered from complaint by calling both.

    The game moves very fast & even with the recent addition of a second ref they can easily miss stuff but given the crappy wat the NHL plays the game & the demand that the refs support crappy play this shit happens.

  28. 28
    Schlemizel says:

    @patrick II:
    How many steps is Labron allowed before they call traveling? I don’t watch basketball much if at all but even I see that star players can carry the ball from center court to the basket if they slam it. Regular players get maybe 3 steps & new/marginal players only the regulation.

  29. 29
    burnspbesq says:

    You’re over-thinking this. It’s just a bad call.

  30. 30
    burnspbesq says:


    Maybe it’s a generational thing, and maybe it’s a football-basketball thing, but Johnny Dawkins came from Northeast Washington, graduated on time from Duke while accomplishing far more at the college level than Richard Sherman, and has never acted the fool the way Sherman has.

    Or maybe it’s just that Sherman has a self-aggrandizing agenda that is served by playing the fool.

    Or maybe it’s just that Sherman is a fool.

  31. 31
    Sublime33 says:

    Sharp’s embellishment wasn’t any worse than TJ Oshie’s in the first period. Both should have been called.

  32. 32
    max says:

    The down player got whacked and got whacked good enough for the ref to make the penalty/foul call.

    Gotta look at the play.

    Ah-ha. Pittsburgh was on the powerplay, so it was 5-on-4, and Savard made a fairly clear, but token slash. Kunitz went to his knees briefly (half a second?) and got back up. So that’s the penalty. The momentum of both skaters carried them behind the where it looks like Savard did a very mild check of Kunitz on the boards. Kunitz then went down flailing and doing a scooby doo thing with his skates.

    The ref is thinking that Kunitz already had the penalty (during which he was only briefly impeded) which would have made it a 5-on-3 when both skaters went to the boards and *then* Kunitz realized he been slashed and started playing up the effects to draw the penalty.

    The ref is thinking that if Kunitz wasn’t hurt enough by the slash to go down and stay down and/or drop his stick, but instead managed to continue skating, a legal check at the boards is nowhere near bad enough to cause all that flailing. Calling the penalty on both guys made it a 4-on-3 which kept things from becoming wildly unbalanced. Given that this was the first period, the ref is thinking he needs to penalize the mild slash or later in the game, there will be serious injuries, while at the same time, calling the diving prevents both the melodramatics from getting out of hand, but also discourage Pittsburgh from doing dangerous stuff that will draw penalties from the Bluejackets. (Things diving at the net and skating directly at scrums such that the other players basically have to hit you.)

    It happens so fast that it’s hard to see but that was actually a good call.

    [‘The refs have to keep the game from getting out of hand.’]

  33. 33
    Spartacvs says:

    a legitimate attempt by a fouled player to make sure the referee saw the foul

    No such legitimacy as far as I’m concerned.

  34. 34
    Seth says:

    Please. That was a terrible call and was clearly another case of an NHL official not wanting to give one of the teams too many calls. The ref just used the diving rule to ignore a blatant slash. Kunitz barely went to his knee and immediately got up and kept playing. NHL officials pull this crap all the time. If one team is legitimately penalized multiple times, you just know the other team will get called as soon as anything even slightly questionable happens. Honestly, it is at the point (especially in the playoffs) that a team who has had several consecutive power plays might as well blatantly hack someone as they are going to get called for something soon regardless of what they do. If it weren’t for NFL officials NHL officials would be the worst in sports.

  35. 35
    max says:

    Out of hand, by the way:

    1st period:
    6:39 – DAL – Valeri Nichushkin: 2 Minutes for Hooking
    Anaheim 2 Dallas 0
    2nd period:
    9:51 – DAL – Kevin Connauton: 2 Minutes for Tripping
    13:40 – ANA – Mark Fistric: 2 Minutes for Interference
    15:58 – ANA – Bryan Allen: 2 Minutes for Cross checking
    Anaheim 2 Dallas 2

    (That was a really stupid penalty Allen took. He was in scrum with a Dallas player along the boards at the Dallas blueline, away from the play. The whistle blew, so the Dallas player was skating away, and Allen followed him and pushed him. Roussel was skating up, with his stick down, to see what was going on, and Allan turned to him raised his stick and WHAM, knocked Roussel on his ass. There was the no point to that. Play was dead and the puck wasn’t anywhere nearby, and Roussel hadn’t even been involved. But things were getting pretty tetchy at that point.)

    3rd period:
    11:32 – DAL – Ryan Garbutt: 2 Minutes for High-sticking
    14:59 – ANA – Corey Perry: 2 Minutes for Boarding
    17:50 – DAL – Antoine Roussel: 5 Minute Major for Fighting
    17:50 – ANA – Patrick Maroon: 10 Minute Misconduct
    17:50 – DAL – Vernon Fiddler: 10 Minute Misconduct
    17:50 – ANA – Corey Perry: 5 Minute Major for Fighting
    (play resumes!)
    18:53 – ANA – Kyle Palmieri: 10 Minute Misconduct
    18:53 – DAL – Trevor Daley: 10 Minute Misconduct
    (play resumes for the last 1:07 of the game game!)
    20:00 – ANA – Mark Fistric: 2 Minutes for Roughing
    20:00 – ANA – Bryan Allen: 2 Minutes for Roughing
    20:00 – ANA – Bryan Allen: 2 Minutes for Cross checking
    20:00 – ANA – Bryan Allen: 10 Minute Misconduct
    20:00 – DAL – Jordie Benn: 2 Minutes for Roughing
    20:00 – ANA – Ryan Garbutt: 2 Minutes for Roughing
    Anaheim 2 Dallas 4

    [‘That was actually a good game!’]

  36. 36
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @Spartacvs: Disagree, players want justice and they will get it one way or another. I prefer that the players get their justice through the referee and if that means communicating with the ref, then so be it.

    For instance, I recently reffed a game where Red #5 put both her hands up in the air and took a massive giant step forward while saying “Sir, please look”

    I was looking the entire time and as Red #5 was taking the step forward, Green #33 was trying to either disentangle her hand from the back of Red’s shirt or unhook her bra. Simple foul, and I appreciated Red gave me a chance to make the call and get Green to let go instead of just throwing the elbow to the ribs leading to either escalating chippiness/retaliation/counter-retaliation OR an ugly, low flow game.

  37. 37
    Sublime33 says:

    I didn’t watch the Dallas – Anaheim game, but next to Raffi Torres, Antoine Roussel could change his middle name to “Had It Coming”.

  38. 38
    C.S. says:

    @Spartacvs: I disagree completely. I love basketball, but the reason flopping is prevalent in the NBA is not because of an influx of European players raised on soccer, but because the refs won’t freaking call a charge unless someone winds up on the floor. The way to reduce flopping is not by penalizing flopping, but by getting referees to make the correct call without a flop. Unless and until that happens, it’s entirely appropriate for a player to go to the ground when he takes a charge or gets knocked around trying to go over the top of a moving pick. If they don’t do it, the other team gains a competitive advantage by breaking the rules.

  39. 39
    smintheus says:

    @Sublime33: I didn’t see Oshie’s. Sharp’s dive was staggeringly dishonest, based on zero contact.

  40. 40
    Sublime33 says:

    Both Oshie and Sharp were kinda sorta hit. Both made the most of it to get the call.

  41. 41
    Thursday says:


    How is interference different than boarding different than roughing? And slashing different than high-sticking?

    Interference is preventing a player from getting to the play – it’s a fairly new one, and designed to stop obstruction and “pick plays” from happening and letting a single player retrieve the puck, ideally continuing the attack. It’s most common along the boards, but can happen in open ice. It’s also a big reason why the new hybrid icing rules are in place – defenders can’t “slow down” opposing forecheckers any more, so someone going back for the puck could just get smoked against the boards while in a vulnerable position.

    Boarding is pretty much as the name implies: hitting a guy and shoving him into the boards from a few feet away. It’s a fantastically dangerous play, increasing the risk of major injuries from heads or shoulders making the first point of contact against the boards. It’s actually much safer to get hit _on_ the boards than a couple feet off them.

    Slashing is a deliberate action to any part of a player below the shoulders: legs, hands, feet, etc. There’s a bit of leeway given to slashing at sticks to knock the puck off of it or to make the player lose control of the puck, but if their stick breaks you’re probably going to get busted for it.

    High sticking is having your stick hit an opposing player in the face or head, deliberate or otherwise (it’s usually not, but you’re expected to control your stick well enough to prevent that impact). Again a bit of leeway is given if the player is ducking or otherwise lower than normal and gets hit, but Zdeno Chara still isn’t allowed to catch Martin St. Louis’ head with his stick blade no matter how easy it is for him. Drawing blood gets a double minor, and a deliberate act gets a five + out for the game + (probably) a phone call with suspension.

    As for the mutual call (penalty + diving), that’s as much the refs telling the person who drew the call “knock it off, we got this” as anything else.

    As much flack as refs get in hockey, they have to cover a huge field with a dozen people moving at 30km/h while skating and staying out of the play as much as possible. Anyone who remembers the ref strike where substitutes were used should have a solid appreciation for what they have to do and how hard it is. Jerome Iginla said it best: “Sometimes calls get missed. That’s hockey.”

    Yeah, might be a hockey nerd. Whachagonnado?

  42. 42
    Sublime33 says:

    Good summary, though interference infractions have changed significantly since the 60’s when I first started watching. It used to be called only for “downfield blocking” but not as violent as “charging”. Pick plays were never called nor were “Red Rover” defenses at the blue line where offensive players without the puck were grabbed, pushed and checked perusing the puck off a dump in. The league figured out that chip and chase hockey was boring to watch, so they radically tightened up the call in the aughts.

  43. 43
    kwAwk says:

    Here is video of the incident…

    It does look like a fair foul call and an embellished reaction…

  44. 44
    Spartacvs says:

    @Richard Mayhew: Going down like a shot bird from minor contact is the kind of behavior I don’t like to see. Rugby fan myself, don’t much care for soccer.

  45. 45
    smintheus says:

    @Sublime33: No, Sharp wasn’t hit at all. He was facing the boards and lightly brushed past (from behind) by a passing St. Louis player. After that slight ‘contact’, Sharp then turned himself fully around toward mid ice and threw himself down, while nobody was actually touching him.

  46. 46
    Sublime33 says:

    I am a big soccer fan myself though I picked it up 25 years after hockey. A huge problem is that the benefit for successfully drawing a penalty in soccer is much, much bigger than in any other sport. The average English Premier League game has 1.4 goals scored by each team and 90% of penalties are converted. So the payoff is huge. Compare this to the NHL where the scoring rate is double – 2.74 per game for each team and only about 18% are converted into goals.

  47. 47
    Sublime33 says:

    Please also put down your Blues or Canucks sweater and review the Oshie flop on the Oduya penalty at 17:48 in the first period. It was the exact same play on the exact same spot in the ice in front of the benches.

  48. 48
    nb says:

    Richard Sherman is a shit-talking motormouth sore winner. Anybody who only knows the guy’s name because of the Crabtree thing missed all the other previous times that he ran his mouth and picked fights (Brady and Revis, among others).

    The inspirational backstory about coming from nothing and graduating from Stanford should not insulate him from being criticized for being an asshole to other players.

    Also worth noting that in the last two years, the Seahawks have had three cornerbacks get suspended for PEDs (Browner and Thurmond are the other two); Sherman won his appeal on a technicality, very similar to Ryan Braun.

    Sherman has faced valid, non-racist criticism for poor sportsmanship dating from well before the NFC Championship game. It drives me nuts to see otherwise well-meaning people lift him up as some sort of hero because racist idiots attacked him on Twitter. (Nobody’s going to invite him to give a talk on humility….)

  49. 49
    smintheus says:

    @Sublime33: I’m not a fan of either the Blues or Canucks, why would you assume that?

    As I said, I didn’t see the Oshie play. I saw instead a ridiculous flop by Sharp rewarded with a PP to Chicago. Refs are supposed to call the penalties they see, and only those. It’s not their job to speculate what may have happened when they weren’t looking.

  50. 50
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:


    Embelleshment can be made to turn a 2 minute minor into a 4 minute double minor (due to drawing blood or two separate fouls in the same play) or a 5 minute major. That’s where I think it comes into play, since in hockey not all penalties are made equal.

    Or a 5-minute major with either a misconduct penalty (which shortens the bench of the penalized player’s team for 10 minutes) or a game misconduct penalty (which shortens that bench for the balance of the game and may result in the penalized player being suspended for games that follow).

  51. 51
    Thursday says:


    Definitely: the rules have been changing pretty much constantly for 30+ years at this point. A lot of the folks who complain about hockey seem to have stopped at Slap Shot and not watched another game since.

    Oh, and I’m a lifelong Canucklehead, so feel free to comment about how I don’t know anything about hockey if you want! ;)

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