NHL players, coaches looking to embarass floppers with list

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NHL players, coaches looking to embarass floppers with list

The Bruins may finally be getting their wish as the divers, embellishers and floppers will be on watch once hockey gets going this season.

A two-day Rules Enforcement Meeting concluded in Toronto on Wednesday, and NHL Senior Executive Vice President Colin Campbell said the biggest thing taken away from the discussion was stronger enforcement of the diving penalty, according to an NHL.com report.

Normally diving has been called simultaneously with a tripping or hooking call offsetting the whistle with matching penalties. But the nearly unanimous support was to eradicate the Nestea plunge out of the NHL after teams like the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks perfected the art of the penalty-drawing dive.

Ironically enough Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa was one of the NHL players at the enforcement meetings looking to snuff out the diving infractions, but he has long been one of the Vancouver skaters to play the game with some level of honesty. Campbell said that players, coaches and managers are hoping for a Most Wanted list of divers to be posted in every NHL locker room, and therefore hopefully embarrass them.

So P.K. Subban, Mike Ribeiro, Alex Burrows and Maxim Lapierre among others should officially be on notice that there will be a zero tolerance policy for divers on the ice next season.

"They want to get the list out there," said Campbell to reporters. "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.

The Bruins were one of a number of NHL teams that has complained loudly over the last two seasons about diving and embellishing from their opponents. According to the NHL Rulebook, players who violate the divingembellishment rule are subject to supplementary discipline through fine andor suspension.

Campbell told NHL.com there was no appetite among the group attending the two-day summit to suspend repeat offenders. The players group led by Bieksa, John Michael-Liles and Jason Spezza -- felt the punishment of having your name on a divers' list in the 30 NHL dressing rooms would be enough to reduce the frequency with which the cheap tactic is used.

To be fair Brad Marchand was also guilty of the same thing in the first round series against the Washington Capitals last year as well, but a more strict enforcement will hopefully sweep the flopping right out of the game.

Hockey, after all, isnt soccer with the acting and the flopping while feigning injuries, and there is little desire for the sport to trend downward into that direction. It will be a little less enjoyable if the Montreal Diving Club T-shirts disappear from the street corners when the Canadiens come to Boston each season, but at least the hockey will be much better off for it.

Bruins' Zboril uses criticism and Twitter hate as motivation

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Bruins' Zboril uses criticism and Twitter hate as motivation

BRIGHTON -- It’s easy to see that Jakub Zboril , one of the Bruins' 2015 first-round pick, has come a long way in a year.

“I feel more comfortable,” said Zboril. “After last year, when all of the people saying something about what they didn’t like about me, it really pushed me forward. I told myself I wanted to be in better shape and so I worked really hard at it.”

The 19-year-old wasn’t in very good shape for last season's training camp after coming back from a knee injury, and that carried over into a junior season for the Saint John Sea Dogs (6 goals and 20 points in 50 games). That was a drop from his 13 goals and 33 points in 44 games prior to hearing his name called by the B’s on draft night.

Zboril was back at peak effectiveness in the playoffs for the Sea Dogs with a couple of goals and 10 points in 17 games, but the chain of events caused some to wonder if the Bruins had drafted something of a bust.

It seems ludicrous, considering Zboril is a 19-year-old talented enough to be selected 13th overall in the entire NHL draft, and even more so now that he’s showing much more in his second camp with Boston. It was some good and some bad for Zboril in his preseason debut against Columbus on Monday with a misplay leading to a goal against, but Zboril also kicked off the transition pass that helped the Bruins score their first goal of game.

“From last year I think he’s made big strides,” said assistant coach Jay Pandolfo. “He’s a young kid that’s only 19 years old, and he’s going to keep getting better. So that’s what you want. The structure in his game and the overall attitude [is better]. He was a little young last year. He’s in better shape. He’s done a lot of things that we got on him for last year, and he’s taken it and listened, he’s working hard. He’s done a good job.”

It’s a long shot for Zboril to crack the B’s roster this fall, so he’s likely headed back to Saint John for another junior hockey season after watching fellow prospect Thomas Chabot get a lot of the No. 1 D-man playing time last season. He quickly shot down any possibilities of playing in Europe rather than going back to the Quebec Major Junior League, and said there could still be plenty to learn in his final junior season.

“Right now where I am, I can just learn from myself and pushing myself,” said Zboril, of going back to junior. “What I can take from last year is that my role on the team changed, and I had to be more of a shutdown D. I had to show my defensive abilities, so I improved a lot from the year before. I think I can be more of a defensive defenseman too, so there’s that.”

Still, the so-so season last year had its impact in a positive fashion with Zboril really stepping up his game. But it’s also had its drawbacks as the Czech-born defenseman was forced to deactivate his Twitter account because of the harsh criticism and messages he was getting from hockey fans. Disappointingly, Zboril said most of it was coming from people in Boston that claim to be Bruins fans, and that it was like “people just spitting on you.”

“It was really pushing me down a lot,” said Zboril. “After some games when you know you weren’t playing really good, then you go on Twitter and you just see . . . people just spitting on you. So I had to delete it.”

Zboril said he’s much happier since getting off social media. But it’s a shame that a bright young prospect’s first impression of his future NHL city was the flaming dumpster of keyboard warriors that should forever be known as “Bruins Hockey Twitter.”

Wednesday, Sept. 28: Ex-Bruin Ruzicka in hot water

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Wednesday, Sept. 28: Ex-Bruin Ruzicka in hot water

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while fully ensconced in the Bruins' second exhibition game, on tap for tonight. 
 
-- It’s awesome to see Wayne Gretzky back in the mix with the NHL, and serving as “official ambassador” for the NHL’s centennial celebration. 
 
-- Tough times for former Bruins forward and former Czech national coach Vladimir Ruzicka, who was fined for some shady, fraudulent activity

-- Andrew Shaw announced his presence in Montreal with authority. The only thing missing from this WWE-type performance was a Hulkster hand to his ear before the threw a punch. 
 
-- A sad column from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Donnie Brennan, who says it’s time for Clarke MacArthur to retire after all the concussions. I remember writing the exact same thing about Marc Savard five or six years ago before he ultimately took one last big hit and retired. 
 
-- It sounds like old friend Vladimir Sobotka is going to stick in the KHL, and isn’t coming back to the St. Louis Blues as many suspected. 
 
-- For something completely different: A pretty fun Lyft commercial featuring David Ortiz, but how the hell did these people not recognize him?