SUN Hockey Pool

NHL exec says officials won’t stand for diving

Eric Francis, Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 4:09 AM ET

VANCOUVER - Colin Campbell is tired of seeing his officials embarrassed by players throughout these NHL playoffs and isn’t going to stand for it any more.
Due to the increasing number of players diving and embellishing throughout these playoffs, Campbell and director of officiating Terry Gregson have instructed officials to crack down on players who snap their heads back to sell a call.
Teams and players have been warned to cut it out or referees will be handing out diving calls as well as “two and twos,” tagging both the victim and the perpetrator.
While diving generally increases in the post-season, what complicates the issue this year is the heightened desire to protect players from head-shots, leading players to prey on this and act as if anything coming close to their noggin makes contact, a la Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo and teammate Maxim Lapierre.
“Diving is increased in the playoffs as the stakes are higher, and when players get desperate, they take their credibility and their honour and they throw it out the window,” the NHL’s VP of Hockey Operations said Saturday.
“Through our supervisors, we warned all the teams not to embellish. It’s becoming rampant, and we’re going to start calling it. We’ll ramp it up next round. You may not like it, but we’ll point out the guys who we feel will embellish calls.”
It harkens back a handful of years when the league issued the list of known divers, which was aborted, since GMs hated it.
PHOENIX RISING … AGAIN?
The Ice Edge Group has just informed prospective Phoenix Coyotes buyer Matthew Hulsizer it is no longer interested in being part of the group to buy the team. Reports also indicate perhaps Hulsizer himself is getting cold feet.
However, Glendale city councillors can buy the club another year in the desert Tuesday when they’ll vote on whether to provide the NHL with another US$25-million guarantee to cover next year’s losses as they did this year.
The stop-gap measure would allow time to try and find the right buyer to keep the team in America’s sixth-largest TV market.
CAPITAL LOSSES
Contrary to speculation in the press, Washington Capitals GM George McPhee said he expects head coach Bruce Boudreau to be back next year. I talked to three GMs Saturday who all said keeping Boudreau was the smart thing for the Caps to do, as he would be snapped up the next day by any number of clubs.
“He’d need a secretary to field all the calls he’d get,” said one GM, pointing out good coaches are hard to find.
GOALIE CAROUSEL
Despite two decades of goalie woes and seeing goalies yanked in more than half of the Philadelphia Flyers’ playoff games, GM Paul Holmgren said after Friday night’s sweep, “I don’t think we can fault our goaltending at any point in the (second-round) series (loss to the Boston Bruins).”
In other words, expect rookie Sergei Bobrovsky to have the starting job next year as he has another two years left on his deal at
$1.75 million. His backup won’t likely be anyone of note, since veteran Brian Boucher is a UFA and the cap-strapped club has
18 players signed for
$58 million next year. Last year’s playoff stud, Ville Leino, still has to be signed, meaning the club has no money to make the major moves necessary if they are to land any goalie of significance. Michael Leighton, who they put on waivers, is the likely backup with one year left on a deal paying him $1.55 million.
NOTES TO SELF
A report surfaced this week saying unrestricted free-agent goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has entered into negotiations with KHL club SKA St. Petersburg, the team for which Evgeni Nabokov played. Not true at all, says Bryzgalov’s agent, who said he’ll fly to Phoenix next week to start talks with the Coyotes … At 39, Donald Brashear will make his MMA debut June 4
in Quebec against Martin Trempe. Both fighters have been playing in a Quebec senior league well-known for its brawling. Trempe is 27.


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