Embellishment, one of the most embarrassing penalties in the NHL, needs to be eliminated altogether or fixed immediately.
I’m going to start this off by saying that whoever decided that “embellishment” or “diving” should be a penalty in 1992, was out of their mind. The penalty is ridiculous, makes referees look bad, and makes players look bad. The Nashville Predators have especially felt the pain of embellishment over the last few years. In the 2015-2016 season, Nashville led the league with 6 embellishment/diving penalties. In the 2016-2017 season, they racked up a few more, including one that cost PK Subban $2,000.
So far this season, they’ve been called for a couple. The one that sent me over the edge was during the Predators’ game versus the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night. Austin Watson was given a coincidental minor with Winnipeg’s Bryan Little. Little slashed Watson, and in return, Watson was called for embellishment.
Before the 1992-1993 NHL season, Rule 64 was added to the NHL Rulebook. Rule 64 says,
"64.1 Diving / Embellishment – Any player who blatantly dives,embellishes a fall or a reaction, or who feigns an injury shall bepenalized with a minor penalty under this rule."
The rule was put into play for player safety, as diving often can put other players at risk for injury. Ok, I get that part of the rule. The part that bothers me, is that players can be called for embellishment, while the other player gets a penalty like tripping or hooking.
If a player dives or goes down intentionally to get the referees attention, then he should be called for embellishment.
Diving is an embarrassment to the NHL and the players, and should be dealt with when it occurs. In this play here, the referee made the right call, as the Canadiens player clearly dives to get attention and draw a penalty.
If a player gets hit, tripped, or hooked like P.K. Subban is here below , and a penalty is called, he should not be able to be called for embellishment.
If a player is called for a penalty like tripping, hooking, boarding, etc, then it seems to me that the player that was hit has a reason to fall down. If a player dives to try to draw a penalty, then clearly they are faking it, and deserve a penalty for that.
It shouldn’t be both, right? In that video above, Subban was mauled by the St Louis Blues player, so his fall was warranted. Maybe he played it up a tad by grabbing his face, but if the referees call the penalty on the Blues player, then why does Subban receive a penalty too? On top of that, Subban was fined $2,000 for embellishment. That’s just adding even more stupid insult to already stupid injury.
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One Way or the Other
Let me throw out a little comparison here.
In a basketball game, player A drives to the basket. Player B is set up to take a charge. Player A goes up and runs over player B in the process. The referee blows his whistle and calls player A for a charge, and player B for blocking.
That doesn’t seem right, because that doesn’t happen. Either player A gets called for a charge, or player B gets called for a block. That’s how it should be in hockey, too.
A referee calling one player for tripping, hooking, boarding, etc, then the other for embellishment is absurd. That basically says, you go to the box for making him fall down, and you go to the box for falling down. That sounds ridiculous, because it is ridiculous. Call one guy for tripping or the other for embellishment. One way of the other, not both.
The NHL needs to fix this rule immediately. I get that it’s there for player safety and to keep players from excessively trying to draw penalties, but calling coincidental penalties with embellishment is ridiculous and continues to puzzle me to this day.