“I think we want to see how the fine system works first to determine whether publication is necessary.”
That was NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, in an email to PHT following yesterday’s post asking if the league will publicize divers. On Friday, Daly told the New York Daily News the league hasn’t determined if it would publicly release fines and warnings relating to its new crackdown on embellishment, to which I asked the obvious question — why?
Short answer: Patience.
The NHL has rarely rushed decisions under Daly and commissioner Gary Bettman, preferring the methodical/pragmatic approach, and it sounds as though that’s what the league will do with the diving issue. Heck, guys who’ll play a big role in cracking down on embellishment, referees and linesmen, are still in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. So in terms of priority, getting a deal done is paramount.
That said, it sounds like the implementation of fining divers — the first time the league will do it since 2005-06 — is high on the priority chart as well.
“What I will say about our players is that fines are meaningful,” Daly told Sportsnet’s Fan 590 on Tuesday. “Really, regardless of the amount. And I think it has to do with essentially being called out. I think that’s really the purpose of the fine.
“The players came to us and talked to us about wanting to clamp down on diving, and embellishing, and what they view as kind of cheating the integrity of the game, with respect to that going on on the ice, the unsportsmanlike conduct nature of it.”
It’s not surprising to hear that players pushed for this. Two years ago they were strongly in favor of identifying and, for lack of a better term, shaming repeat offenders. Several NHLers participated in the league’s 2012 Rules Summit and said they wanted a distributed diver’s list:
The players in the session, including Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa and Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman John-Michael Liles, led an impassioned discussion on enforcing the diving/embellishment rule (Rule 64.1), [Colin] Campbell told NHL.com. He said the players want to distribute a list of divers around the League so it can be posted in all 30 dressing rooms and be delivered to the on-ice officials.
“They want to get [the list] out there,” Campbell said. “They want the player to be caught, whether it’s on the ice by the referee or by us on video. They are all tired of diving. The object is to make them stop eventually and, by doing that, they can get it out there around the League, embarrass them. The referees will know it, too, so the divers don’t get the benefit of the doubt.”
Two years later, the league and PA have combined to create what they feel could be a solution, but both parties sound committed to letting the process play out before deciding if changes are needed.
“We worked together on a framework that we thought would be effective — and we think this will be effective,” Daly explained. “Obviously, if it’s not effective you re-evaluate and you see if you ramp it up in ways that make it more effective.”
More effective — like making diving fines public, perhaps?