Goofy calls lurk in haze

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

A fter a bleary-eyed weekend of sports viewing, a few things managed to work their way through the haze of games. Is there anything more ridiculous than hockey's combination for any penalty plus diving?

In Sunday's London Knights/Ottawa 67's game, Knights' Nazem Kadri was held by Ottawa's Brian Birkoff. Kadri went down. Birkoff was given a two-minute holding penalty. Kadri was given a diving penalty, which carries with it an automatic 10-minute misconduct.

If Kadri was held, how is it a dive? OK, we've heard the explanation many times. The player committed the infraction but the other player made it look worse than it was.

If it's a penalty, how can anyone determine how severely it impacted the player being fouled? In a game played so quickly and so physically, it doesn't take much for a player to lose his balance or an edge.

If a referee determined there was a foul but it wasn't serious enough for the player to fall, maybe it wasn't a penalty in the first place.

This puts an awful lot of responsibility on the judgment of a game official.

The addition of the diving penalty was needed to prevent cheaters from falling with a gentle breeze. But handing out a penalty to a player being fouled isn't logical.

- There's something inherently smart about making rules that protect a quarterback, but there is something to the phrase "too much of a good thing."

When Arizona Cardinals' Karlos Dansby was called for roughing the passer in the third quarter of Sunday's Super Bowl, it makes a mockery of what's supposed to be a physical game. Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger had just completed a pass and was given a nudge that sent him to the turf by Dansby.

The NFL is adamant about protecting quarterbacks. But it needs to remember that football is the most violent game in the world and even though quarterbacks are a valued lot, they are part of the game.

While the penalty didn't ultimately make a huge difference in the game, it could have. The idea a title in a sport where physical play and collisions are a necessity can be decided by such a ticky-tack call is repulsive.

These guys get paid a lot of money to play the game, let them play it.

Goalies have become the quarterbacks of hockey. Even when a goaltender wanders behind the net, any sort of contact earns a penalty.

Heaven forbid if you brush a goalie around the front of the net. More often than not, even a forward who is pushed into a goalie earns a goaltender interference call.

Instead of worrying about whether fighting is going to be banned from the game, we should worry about any kind of contact being removed from the game.

- If there's another rule that's as goofy as the hockey penalty-plus-diving call, it's the penalty-plus-red card call in soccer.

If a player or goalie commits an infraction in soccer that leads to a penalty, many times that player is red-carded.

It's penalty-plus-penalty.

Even if the foul in the penalty area is deliberate, handing out a red card that sends a player off is too steep a price for a team to pay.

You've already awarded the ultimate punishment, a penalty kick. Sending a player off puts the offending team at a horrible disadvantage the rest of the game and often ruins a game. Hand him or her a yellow card instead.

If the foul in the penalty area is violent, a red card should be given. Continue to give red cards for professional fouls committed to prevent scoring opportunities.

Make the punishment fit the crime.

- And finally, it won't happen but if anyone deserves consideration for OHL coach of the year it's Sarnia Sting's Dave MacQueen.

He's keeping his team above .500, making do with a lineup that other coaches might have trouble getting into the playoffs.

This is one of his best coaching jobs while he's been in the OHL and he's done it in relative obscurity.


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