This point brings me to last night. You can check the play over at CiO (i couldn't find the clip at youtube and I don't know how to steal mikew's great work at saving and uploading that file) and while I think Bertuzzi walked a fine line there I don't think he did anything other than compete for the puck and actually let up a bit at the end.
Johnson on the other hand defies many laws of physics that would be implied with a forward momentum push and drops as if he has literally been shot in the back.
I'm not one of those people who can't reconcile two penalties (the initial call + the dive call) in one play - just because a player dives doesn't mean the initial infraction never happened, so I could've lived with a boarding penalty to Bertuzzi if the unsportsmanlike call had gone against Ryan Johnson.
I'm not going to blame the referee here; it's a fast game. The ref sees 'BERTUZZI' stalking a guy going to the corner, the guy goes flying pretty close to the boards and he looks hurt - it's going to happen.
What I do see as disappointing, is as far as I can tell, there is not going to be any formal review of the issue by the NHL. I want to be very clear about this; I am not a bitter fan railing against losing the game, this call perhaps didn't even affect the outcome. I am just a disappointed fan who hates to see diving, regardless of the perpetrator. Ryan Johnson serves as an example only.
Here, via the NHL website, is the rule on diving:
Rule 64 - Diving / Embellishment
64.1 Diving / Embellishment – Any player or goalkeeper 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.
64.2 Minor Penalty - A minor penalty shall be imposed on a player or goalkeeper who attempts to draw a penalty by his actions (“diving / embellishment”).
64.3 Fines and Suspensions - Regardless if a minor penalty for diving / embellishment is called, Hockey Operations will review game videos and assess fines to players or goalkeepers who dive or embellish a fall or a reaction, or who feign injury. See also Rule 29 – Supplementary Discipline. The call on the ice by the Referee is totally independent of supplementary discipline.
The first such incident during the season will result in a warning letter being sent to the player or goalkeeper. The second such incident will result in a one thousand dollar ($1,000) fine. For a third such incident in the season, the player shall be suspended for one game, pending a telephone conversation with the Director of Hockey Operations. For subsequent violations in the same season, the player’s suspension shall double (i.e. first suspension – one game, second suspension – two games, third suspension – four games, etc.) See also Rule 29 – Supplementary Discipline. (Source)
Another issue I have with Rule 64.1 is the harshness of the penalty. First offence is a letter, second offence is a $1000 fine, third is a one game suspension. If that doesn't sound like a joke to you then you must be humourless. On the off chance Hockey Operations reviews the play, and decides it was a dive, they have to do that 2 more times for there to be any in game consequences.
Here's my proposition: For any infraction, first, third, eighteenth, the player receives a one game suspension.
The one game suspension though will not be much of a deterrent; you give Ryan Johnson a one game suspension and how much are the Canucks going to miss him?
For a while the league had some sort of Scarlett letter diving thing, but as far as I can tell that plan fell to the wayside.
If it were up to me I would not simply fine the player, I would fine every member of the team, including coaches. They would all be fined at the nominal fee of $1000 which means that it wouldn't really be hurting their pocketbooks all that much, but it would create an extra incentive to not be hated by your team - it makes the whole organization accountable for the transgression of each individual player. It would hopefully create a self policing system between players. The team should be embarrassed when one of their players embellishes to such an obvious extent.
You might argue that in cases where Hockey Operations gets it wrong upon review, this is an overly harsh punishment, but I would bet the psychological effect of being wrongfully prosecuted (persecuted) would actually have a positive fortifying effect on the team.
Is there something I'm missing here?