Following last night’s Habs victory over the Boston Bruins, B’s coach Claude Julien took the opportunity to complain about diving and embellishment in his post game press conference. Julien said the following,
“This is embarrassing for our game, the embellishing. Right now, they’ve got over 100 power plays so far. It’s pretty obvious why. We’re trying to clean that out of our game. It’s got to be done soon. Because it’s not about tonight. It’s about the game. The embellishment embarrasses our game. We’ve got to be better about that. It’s pretty obvious when P.K. [Subban] gets hit, he throws himself into the glass and holds his head.”
So apparently diving and embellishment are bad for the game. I’m not about to argue that the Habs don’t participate in it, because they do. But here’s the reality, all 30 NHL teams participate in diving and embellishment, and those who live in glass houses, shouldn’t throw stones.
I don’t know what game Julien was watching, but last night in the second period, I saw Tyler Seguin go down like he was harpooned, after a simple cross check from Alexei Emelin. The guy was lying on the ice moaning and holding his ribs and looking at the refs to call a penalty. When he went to the bench, Seguin brushed off the Bruins training staff, and less than 2 minutes later he was back on the ice for his very next shift.
Add to that a player like Brad Marchand, and Claude Julien should really look at his own team before he starts asking the league to stop other teams from diving. Here are some Marchand dives from the 2012 playoffs.
And when we talk about embellishment, how about Andrew Ference. Here is a play where a Canuck gets his stick near Ference’s face (but as the replay shows, clearly not making contact). Ference throws his head back, pretends to be hit and attempts to draw a penalty. If that doesn’t fit the definition of the type of “embellishment” that Julien wants out of the game, then I don’t know what does.
But its not just guys like Marchand and Ference, two guys who are known as agitators on the Bruins. We can look to their captain, the much respected Zdeno Chara and also find him participating in this behavior of diving and embellishing to get calls.
But it doesn’t stop there. The problem of diving and embellishment effects a number of other players on the Bruins. Look, I don’t have the time, and this article doesn’t have the space to post any more diving and embellishment videos, but a quick search on youtube for Bruins Dives, and Bruins Diving, and you will find them. This isn’t to say that the Bruins are the worst in the league for this, but they are just as bad as any other team in the league. There is no moral high ground for Julien to stand on with this issue, with the number of blatant examples we can find of his players participating in the same diving and embellishment.
Julien’s complaint seems to be that the Habs have gotten 100 PP opportunities this year. Well heres the thing, with 22 games played, thats an average of just slightly over 4 PPs per game. Over a third of the league is averaging over 4 PPs a game. The Montreal Canadiens have also been short handed 86 times this season or 3.91 times per game. Again well over a third of the league is averaging 4 times shorthanded per game. The Montreal Canadiens might have the most PP opportunities in the NHL, but have also been shorthanded for 89:35 this season, 2nd most in the NHL. These stats don’t show us anything, other than the fact that there have been plenty of penalties called in Montreal games.
The fact is that the Habs have been one of the best even strength teams in the league this season, controlling the puck, and generally outshooting opponents. Newsflash: The team who has the puck, usually draws more penalties than the team without the puck. Last season, when the Habs were a terrible even-strength team, they were shorthanded, far more often than they had PP opportunities. Thats hockey, if you don’t have the puck, its a lot easier to take a penalty than when you do.
As I said, all 30 teams participate in this behaviour, and its true “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying” in today’s NHL. The game is just too fast for the officials to be able to accurately tell what is diving and embellishment and what is a legitimate penalty on many occassions. As a result this isn’t going to stop anytime soon.
What should stop though, is the holier than thou attitude from people like Claude Julien. Let he who is without sin, be the one to cast the first stone, and when Julien is able to stop his own time from participating in the diving and embellishment, it is then and only then that he will have the moral authority to complain about how other team’s play the game.
Julien has had the opportunity to stop his own team from participating in this behaviour. I’ve never seen a Bruin benched for diving, I’ve never heard of someone on the B’s being made a healthy scratch for their embellishment. Players like Marchand, Ference, Chara, Seguin, and others who have dove retain their positions on the team. If you want to fix the problem, Julien, you should start by cleaning up your own house.
Of course this isn’t the first time Julien has been shown to be a hypocrite.
And that’s the Last Word.
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photo credit: slidingsideways via photopin cc
I’d also like to thank all the various uploaders who put their videos on youtube, and I’d like to point out we don’t own any of the video clips but are using them under “fair use”. If any owner would like us to take them down, just message us and we will.