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Sportsnet's analysts lambaste the Canucks and Oilers for diving


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Sam Jones
May 19, 2024  (3:24 PM)
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Canucks and Oilers
Photo credit: NHLI

As the NHL playoffs approach their midpoint, the excitement on the ice has been undeniable.

Fans have been treated to a series of intensely competitive games, making this season's playoffs particularly riveting. However, a persistent issue has overshadowed the stellar performances: the glaring inconsistencies in officiating. This year, the referees' erratic decisions have sparked widespread criticism, pushing players towards dramatics to secure calls in their favor. The term "epidemic" has been used by the Sportsnet panel to describe the rampant diving that has become a notable theme of the playoffs.
Former NHL player Kevin Bieksa offers insightful commentary on the matter, emphasizing the strategic manipulations teams employ to draw penalties. According to Bieksa, although discussions about integrity occur within teams, the prevailing strategy still leans heavily towards winning at any cost, including exploiting the referees' oversight to gain powerplays.
The Vancouver Canucks have become emblematic of this issue. Known for their frequent embellishments, the team's tactics have become so pronounced that they prompted an official response from the NHL. Head coach Rick Tocchet was approached by the league regarding the Canucks' overacting in the first round, yet the problem persists, particularly highlighted in their series against the Oilers.
While embellishment is recognized as a part of hockey, the extent observed in this year's playoffs has crossed lines. The increased number of powerplays, and consequently goals, may enhance viewer engagement, but it comes at the cost of the sport's integrity. The onus is now on the referees to regain control of the matches. It's imperative that they begin to more rigorously penalize overt embellishments and strategize effectively to mitigate this burgeoning culture of flops before it tarnishes the sport's reputation further.
This playoff season has illuminated the critical balance between entertainment and fairness. As the NHL continues to navigate these choppy waters, the hope is that integrity will prevail, allowing skill and sportsmanship to be the ultimate determinants of game outcomes.
POLL
MAY 19   |   37 ANSWERS
Sportsnet's analysts lambaste the Canucks and Oilers for diving

Do you think the game has an epidemic of embellishment?

Yes, there's way too much diving2464.9 %
No, it's part of the game1335.1 %
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