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.

Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

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Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while in disbelief mode that the summer is almost over.

*Good piece on the remainders of the Hartford Whalers organization in Connecticut trying to keep the dream alive for the Whale.

*Tyler Seguin sits down for a podcast this week that I freely admit I did not have the time to listen to. I wonder if Boston even rated a mention in the conversation?

*Rating the top NHL contracts, according to the fancy stats hockey analysts, sounds like an interesting exercise.

*Tracey Myers has Duncan Keith bowing out of the World Cup of Hockey while recovering from an injury, and getting replaced by Jay Boumeester.

*The “Da Beauty” Hockey League has kept players like Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan McDonagh and David Backes in hockey shape this summer while slowly getting ready for the season.

*The Arizona Coyotes make a historic hire by naming Dawn Braid as skating coach, making her the first female coach in the NHL.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Rich Shirtenlieb guested on the #DORK podcast this week, and it sounds like he didn’t love “Stranger Things.” At the very least he liked “Preacher” better. I thought Preacher was entertaining, but I didn’t even think it was in the same stratosphere as Stranger Things. Rich also has me wanting to watch “It Follows” now, however, after his endorsement.

 

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

It’s no secret Bruins fans are getting fed up with a hockey team in decline, one that’s missed the playoffs each of the last two years. Now there are numbers to prove it.

Channel Media and Market Research, Inc. came out with its annual New England Sports survey,  tabulating responses from over 14,600 polled, and, according to the numbers, the Bruins are dropping in popularity, fan support and faith in the current management group.

The B’s are holding somewhat steady with 16 percent of voters listing them as their “favorite sports team” behind the Patriots (46 percent) and Red Sox (29 percent) while ahead of the Celtics and Revolution. Claude Julien also ranked ahead of John Farrell among the big four teams in the “coaches/manages most admired” category.

But after sitting at a relative high of ranking at 27 percent for “ownership performance” in 2014 -- they year after their trip to the Cup Finals against the Blackhawks -- the Bruins now rank dead last in that category at 2 percent, behind the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and even the Revolution. Ouch, babe.

Also sitting at a lowly 2 percent is Bruins president Cam Neely in the “leadership performance” category. In "management performance," Neely has dropped from a solid 49 percent in 2014 to just 16 percent in this summer’s survey.

So B’s fans are clearly upset with a team that traded away Tyler Seguin, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton, and has featured a decimated defense corps for each of the last two seasons. But do the B’s fans think that things are getting any better with prospects coming down the pipeline?

Not really.

In the “which team has done the best job making its product better.” category, the Patriots (35 percent) and Red Sox (31 percent) were resting at the top, with the Celtics (27 percent) a respectable third. The Bruins limped in at just 4 percent with a fan base that very clearly sees that, on paper, this upcoming season’s club doesn’t appear to be much better than last year's.

On top of that, only 13 percent of those surveyed believe the Bruins have gotten better over the last year, and 52 percent believe they’ve just gotten worse. A lowly 3 percent of those surveyed think the Bruins have the best chance of the five teams to bring a world championship back to Boston; the Patriots (79 percent), Red Sox (11 percent) and Celtics (5 percent) all ranked higher.

Finally, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Hayes were at the top of the list of the Boston athletes “who did not meet expectations” last season. None of that is a surprise, given the state of Boston’s defense along with Hayes’ subpar season.

The good news for the Bruins: They still have a passionate fan base. But they need to start reversing course immediately before they do lasting damage to the B’s brand.