You know, it seems that just about every year the league is suspending or fining the Buffalo Sabres for incidents that cause me to shout out loud “Are you serious!!!”. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in holding players accountable for their actions and punishing them appropriately, if Sabres players are acting like a menace then by all means they should be punished. The problem is that the punishments the league hands out always seem to come across as biased in some way shape or form.
As you may have heard Sabres Goalie Michal Neuvirth made NHL history today by becoming the first goalie to receive a fine for diving. If you are not familiar with ‘diving’ in the NHL, its when a player is penalized for embellishing another players actions to make them look more severe than they actually are to draw a penalty. The best part of the diving penalty in the NHL is the fact that it usually accompanies a penalty on the opposing team, so you generally will see both teams at the same time receive penalties, one team for lets say boarding and then the other team will get a diving call.
I know what your saying, if one team is getting a penalty for breaking the rules, then how is the other team also getting a penalty regardless of how they act? Well that’s just how the NHL works, those are the rules and if you don’t like the rules.
Lets get back to Neuvirth though and his historic fine, he didn’t actually receive a diving penalty in the game for his disobedience but that didn’t stop the league from making it a top priority to punish his actions. When you watch the video below you will clearly see why Neuvirth should be heading straight to the silver screen, because this guy obviously has a lot more acting talent that we don’t even know about…
The way he flails around and flops like some sort of graceful magical fish is just something beautiful on a level which we may never again see in our lifetimes. Its almost hard to believe that if the league hadn’t stepped in now then NHL players across the league wouldn’t get away with smashing helmet first into the face of their opposing goaltender. Imagine a league where goalies aren’t fined for getting their heads smashed sideways, what kind of lesson would that be sending the children?
Seriously though, I watched this video roughly 10 times, which is apparently 10 times more than whoever handed down this fine on Neuvirth. The first thing to note is Rob Ray talking about the call and stating that this was the 2nd time Santorelli took out Neuvirth and the first infraction didn’t get called. So right off the bat we have a player that very much appears to have a game plan on bumping around the goalie. To me that’s a really pussy way to play the game, but some players aren’t actually real men, so you’re going to have to excuse Santorelli for having a vagina. But hey, that pussy sure can skate, am I right?
The second and most important thing to note is what actually happened on the play. Nuevirth turns his head facing behind the net while extending his stick to guide the puck off into to the corner, as he turns back to return to his net he is immediately smashed in the face by Santorelli’s helmet which results in Nuevirth losing his balance and landing on his ass. I currently at this time have no idea why this series of events would result in the assaulted victim being penalized.
To get a better idea of Neuvirths embellishment I have constructed an exercise you can do at home that will clearly demonstrate how wrong Neuvirth was for falling over after getting smashed in the face. First grab a friend, then position yourself face to face a few feet apart. Next twist your body extending your arm and leg while twisting your upper torso and face so you are looking directly behind you. Then as you turn back around, have your friend run full force at you and smash you in the face with his head. You can of course do this with or without helmets or skates on, but I think regardless you will find the results are the same every time and at no point will you ever be fazed by this activity.
I honestly would really like to know who watched the video of the play and was like “oh, what a dirty goaltender! you cant let him get away with that shit!”? Like I said before, I understand rules and I am a firm believer in enforcing them, but this is fhorse shit! I can not stand the fact that everyone and their mother covered the “first goalie to get fined for diving story” but nobody called out the NHL for just making shit up. After watching the video closely, how can you determine this man deserves a fine for getting his face smashed in? Forget the fact that players are smashing into other players faces helmet first, fine the victim right?