March 04, 2003

Chris Chelios names the biggest divers in the league: as the NHL cracks down on diving. The Red Wings' defenseman, never one to hold his tongue, names Paul Kariya, Peter Forsberg and Ron Francis as the biggest divers in the league.

posted by kickerofelves to hockey at 09:49 AM - 26 comments

Barry Melrose just yesterday also said Kariya was a diver. I had no idea this pussy-ass soccer phenomenon (the number one thing I hate about soccer is the theatrical dives) had been encroaching into hockey. I'm glad the league is going to step in and take steps to correct it. As Melrose pointed out, no player who ever tries to buy a call by taking a dive has the right to bitch about refereeing.

posted by vito90 at 10:06 AM on March 04, 2003

I've always wondered why there isn't an effort to shame hockey players who are caught on tape making an obvious dive. If the league releases a list of diving champions once a week, it ought to significantly curb the practice. They ought to do the same thing in international soccer. It's cheesy to see world-class athletes getting a minor hip nudge and falling to the ground as if they were hit by a sniper.

posted by rcade at 10:06 AM on March 04, 2003

Forsberg? That's surprising. I've always had a ton of respect for him, and never noticed him doing anything like this. It just doesn't seem to fit into his M.O. I guess I just don't watch enough Avs games. I'm psyched to see the list grow, though. I'm hoping the fines will be leaked to the media (since not all divers need to be penalized during the game to be assessed a fine). On a side note, Chelios is a great defenseman, but man he just never stops trash-talking (about 3/4 down the page). I'm not sure a guy with a reputaton for cheap-shots and playing clutch-and-grab should be taking potshots at other players for breaking the rules.

posted by Samsonov14 at 10:54 AM on March 04, 2003

Diving has been a two-minute penalty for years. Maybe if the NHL enforced the actual rulebook instead of referree-ing games based on popular outcry this would already be cleared up. By the way, how is Bryan Marchement still in the league? And how come I can't get no Tang around here?

posted by yerfatma at 11:08 AM on March 04, 2003

I read his comments a couple of days ago and I'm still waiting for him to add more than a couple of his Red Wing teammates to that list of divers. I know, I know, ain't gonna happen, but if he's going to speak out against a certain aspect of the game, then he needs to talk about it in general terms and not name names. Bad form, IMO. Maybe Sami Kapanen will have to pimp slap his ass around the ice again the next time Day-twah plays Philly.

posted by NoMich at 12:28 PM on March 04, 2003

I know that FIFA has been trying to crack down on diving, especially in last years World Cup. It is still a much bigger problem than it should be. I could never understand a dive because it seemed to make more sense to fight through any physical play to show your toughness.

posted by pfuller at 12:35 PM on March 04, 2003

I could never understand a dive because it seemed to make more sense to fight through any physical play to show your toughness. The point, pfuller, is to try to get the ref to give a card to the man around you when you take a dive. Establishing physical prowess can give you a leg up for the remaining minutes of a game, unless you lose it. Getting your opponent ejected will get him out of the game, not to mention make his team play short-handed for the rest of the half.

posted by Ufez Jones at 12:47 PM on March 04, 2003

Is the diving really working that much? I don't really see it. And like taking a charge in basketball, if you don't go down, you won't get the call. At any rate, it's funny to see a cheap shot artist like Chelios bitching about it. I would think that "anything to help the team" would be more his line.

posted by Mookieproof at 12:48 PM on March 04, 2003

I know, Ufez, I just like to pretend that all professional athletes are also good sports (it is true, isn't it?). Diving in order to get someone else a card, or gain yourself a penalty shot or a man advantage, is against the spirit of competitive sport, imho.

posted by pfuller at 02:03 PM on March 04, 2003

Ah, okay, fuller. I wasn't sure if you meant that you didn't get the point behind it all or if you didn't understand why these talented people have to take such chickenshit steps to try to get an unfair leg up on the competition (Rivaldo, I'm looking at you). Guess it was the latter.

posted by Ufez Jones at 02:14 PM on March 04, 2003

I'm neither a big soccer fan nor a hockey fan. How exactly is diving different than taking a charge in basketball?

posted by swank6 at 02:44 PM on March 04, 2003

Diving is like taking a charge in basketball when no one collides with you. Also, the diver is in motion, rather than planting himself and waiting for someone to run him over.

posted by rcade at 02:51 PM on March 04, 2003

Taking a charge in basketball costs you maybe a foul and some piddly free shot point or two in a game that, on average scores 200-300 points. And if a player fouls out, you can always sub another player in. In hockey, you get a player out for a while, but he can usu. get back in after the power play. And he can always be replaced if he's sent off. I'm not sure if you get a free shot (penalty shot?) if you fool the ref with a dive. In soccer, if you dive in the box and fool the ref, the consequences are much worse: You can get a penalty as well as a player booked or sent off. A penalty in games that score on average 1-2 goals means the entire game. Also, a player sent off can never be replaced. So, it's obvious, gamesmanship is just built into basketball where the overall impact is slight. The theatrics have much more serious consequences in hockey and definitely in soccer.

posted by worldcup2002 at 02:56 PM on March 04, 2003

(Disclaimer: I donít know a damn thing about basketball.) I think the main difference is that taking a charge is a legal and often intelligent defensive move in basketball. Someone hits the ground, but thatís probably the only big similarity. Diving, in hockey, started as a response to a defender obstructing (grabbing, hooking with the stick, etc.) a forward. Obstruction is technically supposed to be a 2:00 minor penalty, but itís a pretty loosely enforced rule. Over time, forwards have learned that exaggerating the amount of force involved in an obstruction by falling to the ground will produce more penalties on the defenders. Diving like this is technically a 2:00 penalty, but itís called even more rarely than obstruction. On the very rare occasions you do see a diving call given to an attacking forward, itís usually matched by a 2 minute penalty on the defender for obstruction (leading to no advantage for either team). Diving almost never backfires. The basketball equivalent of diving would be like a defender falling to the ground before the guy with the ball even touched him. The big difference would be that in basketball, 2 points from the foul line is just a drop of water in the pail of a 100-point game. In hockey, where scores rarely exceed 5 goals for a team, the powerplay goal that can result from a dive can make a huge difference in the game. Itís an exceptionally weaselly move. Someone let me know if Iíve screwed the basketball thing up.

posted by Samsonov14 at 03:18 PM on March 04, 2003

I suppose previewing my response would have let me know that it's already been covered. I should try that sometime.

posted by Samsonov14 at 03:20 PM on March 04, 2003

Diving almost never backfires. I've seen it fail just once. Mike Foligno (when he played for the Leafs) got called for diving in a game vs Vancouver and there was no other call. It was a really stupid looking dive and the coach (Burns) was visibly disgusted with Foligno for getting the penalty. I don't remember if they scored on the power play, but I do remember Foligno sitting for the rest of the game. Claude Lemieux is the NHL version of the Rivaldo. He drew the ire of the Montreal Canadiens coach (Burns again) when he flopped to the ice after being grazed by another player (no penalty to anyone). He lay on the ice writhing in agony. The trainer started to come on the ice and the coach grabbed him and said "Don't go out there." Eventually Lemieux realized that no one was coming and "hobbled" off the ice on his own power. I'm pretty sure he was traded soon after that. (mentioned briefly in this article, about halfway down)

posted by grum@work at 04:11 PM on March 04, 2003

I can't believe this. Sure, diving sucks, but it's called TACTICS, folks. You do what you can or you have in order to gain an advantage for your team. If it means throwing yourself on the ground when a defender nicks you, you do it. If it means writhing in pain after the defensive end bumped you on a punt, you do it. Hell, if it means you gently tugging the belt loops of the runner at first to throw him out of rhythm before he attempts a steal, you do it. If any one of you can honestly say you'd complain if your team won a Stanley or World Cup after a player drew a penalty via fakery, I'll eat this post. How do you combat it? Easy ó you beat the shit out of the guy doing it. Hockey and soccer, they get roughed up away from the play, plain and simple. Me, I got spiked big-time in a play later in the game. Basketball is totally different. Taking a charge is a time-honored strategy. In fact, it was the only damn thing I did worth a damn on the court. I made Kurt Rambis look like Kobe. Even with that rep, however, I paid dearly. Guys knew I wouldn't move, so they just plowed into me with no thought of making the basket. It sucked, I went home bruised ... but we also won at least one game on free throws from me drawing the fouls. Well worth it.

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:41 PM on March 04, 2003

Chelios is still whining about the Olympics? They should have a list of the biggest sucks in the NHL: Chelios would take the crown. I'm all for calling diving penalties... but what I never understood is the incidental dive penalties (ie. when you call a dive, but STILL penalize the other player for tripping, slashing, or whatever.) It might be tactics, but it's still unsportsmanly... and, lest we forget, being unsportsmanlike is still an offence in the NHL.

posted by mkn at 08:19 PM on March 04, 2003

I respectfully disagree with your first paragraph, wfrazerjr, although I think that most pro athletes would share your point of view. Most athletes would also take performance enhancing drugs if they knew they could get away with it and it would win them a championship or medal. Somebody that does anything to gain an advantage is usually breaking the rules and creating an unbalanced playing field. I'm as competitive as anyone I know and I absolutely hate to lose, but if there is anything I hate more than losing, it's cheating. And for me, diving is cheating.

posted by pfuller at 08:20 PM on March 04, 2003

Amen, pfuller, amen. That Maradona "Hand of God" thing was unforgiveable, sacrilege at the High Holy Festival of football. And Maradona is paying for it now, slopping in drugs and disgrace. Pele, on the other hand, took abuse like no other (when rules were less protective of strikers), produced magic and victories with honor, and is still adored all over the world.

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:33 PM on March 04, 2003

A friend of mine used to be all about the diving to get cheap calls, even as far along as college. Now he plays with Francis in Carolina and doesn't do anything like that at all, just plays hard nosed honest hockey... interesting turnabout. But then again, I guess he pisses people off enough to draw penalties without even having to dive (how many times did Gary Roberts find his way to the box last year in the conference finals, heh) I never noticed with Francis, and I've watched a lot of Canes games. Chelios needs to shut his mouth though. Every player in the NHL dives here and there, Chelly included. The more honest ones will only do it if it's an actual penalty to make sure it will get called, just to exaggerate it... the dirty ones dive at stuff that wouldn't be a penalty if not for the dive. I guess it's a difference between exaggerating and lying. The first is OK, the 2nd is cheating. And usually I only have a problem with cheating if I end up losing because of it :) Typical cheater attitude I guess. WFrazer is right though... you see another guy dive, and you hack the shit out of him behind the play where he can dive all he wants without being seen... Taking a guy's number and getting him back later is definitely a common and acceptable thing in hockey. My favorite was always the quick hard annoying slashes to the ankle as a defenseman following the play :)

posted by Bernreuther at 04:24 AM on March 05, 2003

Sure, diving sucks, but it's called TACTICS, folks. There's a difference between gamesmanship and breaking the rules to get an unfair advantage. Diving is comparable to using an illegally curved stick -- penalties and ridicule are good deterrents for both.

posted by rcade at 08:04 AM on March 05, 2003

Not to derail or anything, but Bernreuther, are you friends with Erik Cole? Bummer about his injuries. The team needs his grit in a bad, bad way. I *will* agree (somewhat) about Francis and a few others on his list. There are those that dive at any given moment in the game (Turtle and F[l]oppa, I'm looking at you), then there are those like Francis that pick his spots. Like, when they feel that a game is starting to get out of hand because of uncalled obstruction penalties.

posted by NoMich at 08:24 AM on March 05, 2003

Wow, Chelios the Almight has spoken. Let us all heed his warning. And while we're at it, lets knock off the stick holding, by both the O and the D. Its lunacy I tell you. And another non-call that drives a friend of mine crazy, and I'm beginning to feel his mania, call the freaking delay of game when a goalie leaps from his crease to get fresh skaters on the ice. Whats the point of forechecking and wearing down the D, if Mr.Pads-too-big can just flop and get a whistle!

posted by garfield at 10:05 AM on March 05, 2003

Wow, I never thought this would turn into an ethical argument, and I have been pondering this for quite a while this morning. I guess I can see everyone's point about sportsmanship. Diving is still breaking the rules, and yes, people who get caught for it should be punished. But how much of this is actually part of the code of sports? A large aspect of any competition is gaining whatever advantage you can over your opponent. For anyone who has ever played football, you know that linemen hold on nearly every play. Should they stop doing that, or self-report themselves when they knowingly committ the penalty? If you know you can disrupt a shooter by bumping him slightly as he goes up for the J, and the foul won't be called, do you not do it? It all comes down to what your standards are for cheating and how strictly you abide by your ethical line in the sand. To me, a guy shooting up in the locker room, that's cheating. A guy falling on his face after a little tap, though? That's gamesmanship, and I don't consider it a dirty word. You may disagree with me and think I'm a dirty bastard, but I'm pretty damn sure you'd also love to have me on your team.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:11 AM on March 05, 2003

Yeah NoMich, they do. :( Seems like everyone has given up though. It's funny cause in college he was often called a dirty player. I think it was the influence of Chris Clark, and having an asshole for a coach. WFrazer, I'd do the same thing... unwritten rules of the game are that you do anything you can get away with and it's only cheating if you get caught.

posted by Bernreuther at 02:25 PM on March 05, 2003

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