Former NHL referee Kerry Fraser says officials got it right on Tuesday when they tagged Montreal forward Brandon Prust with a diving penalty after being hit by Winnipeg’s Nik Antropov.
First, here’s video of the incident in question:
What followed was a trio of minor penalties — Prust got two for diving, Antropov got two for boarding and David Desharnais got two for roughing.
Here are a few points Fraser made in deciding the call was correct:
— The contact/check that Antropov delivered on Prust was definitely not a check from behind (dangerous hit) and in my judgment not even worthy of a boarding minor!
Given the fact that neither referee appeared to react or raise an arm to call a penalty initially, I am left to believe that boarding and diving penalties were manufactured in hindsight after David Desharnais went after Antropov.
— Prust took a peek over his shoulder and was aware of the impending contact from Antropov. Once Prust felt the contact from behind, he utilized some ‘spring’ in his legs to generate additional velocity toward the boards.
After contacting the boards Prust bent his upper body forward into his players’ bench.
— This contact was not of sufficient force to cause Prust to be thrown violently into the boards as the language in the rule requires for a penalty to be assessed.
Following the game, Prust was adamant he’d been hit strongly enough to warrant the response, and said it was his first-ever diving penalty.
“I can’t remember one. So it’s a first for everything,” he explained. “I got hit from behind and I fell down and apparently that’s diving nowadays.”
On that note…
Prust says he’s never been whistled for diving before, but he’s certainly been tagged for embellishment.
The following incident occurred during Game 5 of last year’s Eastern Conference finals, when Prust was with the Rangers:
New Jersey’s Peter Harrold was given two minutes for roughing on the play, while Prust was given an unsportsmanlike conduct minor.