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Ryan Kesler singled out as diver in NHL’s crackdown on embellishment

Greg Wyshynski
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At the NHL rules summit in August, a combination of executives and coaches and players addressed one of the league's growing on-ice problems: Embellishment, and the embellishers who embellish.

In order to curb diving, a few players involved in the forum supported the public shaming of chronic floppers. From NHL VP Colin Campbell, via NHL.com:

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

To that end, a few of the names prominently mentioned in those meetings have been leaked by Darren Dreger of TSN. Chief among them: Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks.

Fun fact: His teammate, Kevin Bieksa, was a part of the rules summit. (Awwwwkward…)

From TSN:

Vancouver Canucks centre Ryan Kesler has been identified as an offender. While Kesler plays the game hard, he has been known to exaggerate contact to gain an advantage. Chicago's Dan Carcillo has been caught on video on more than one occasion during his career trying to sell a penalty. Among his more noteworthy attempts was in a 2010 playoff game with the Philadelphia Flyers against the New Jersey Devils, where Carcillo pretended to have been struck in the face with a stick.

Superstars such as Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin have also drawn criticism for attempting to mislead referees, as he did in the playoffs last spring resulting in a penalty against Philadelphia's Matt Carle.

Everything from posting pictures of each culprit in every NHL dressing room to re-instituting a fine system, or simply tacking on an additional two-minute penalty to offset the original call is being discussed by hockey operations and will at some point be presented to all NHL general managers for further discussion.

The "posting pictures" thing is somewhat new, as the players involved in the summit — including Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza, Bieksa and Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman John-Michael Liles — talked about posting a list in every referees' locker room and players' dressing room.

But posting the photographs … OK, now we're getting into "dude who keeps passing bad checks at the liquor store" territory.

But hey, if it helps end the scourge of FIFA-level overacting, whatever works.

But Kesler? A diver? Outside of this …

And this …

And also this …

And tumbleweeds …

… we've only seen him dive one or two dozen times.

(But please remember: Diving is evil, but it's also a tactic.)

Meanwhile, Kesler must be wondering how he could be singled out as a diver on a team that has Alex Burrows and Max Lapierre in its employ. Because we sort of are.

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