Tue May 17 10:54am EDT
Ah, but this wasn't the first (nor the last) time we've heard someone complaining about diving and/or embellishment in the 2010-11 NHL season.
Where does Boyle's complaint rank in our Top 10 Whines About Embellishment/Diving in the 2010-11 NHL Season?
Glad you asked.
10. Barry Trotz on the Vancouver Canucks
The Nashville Predators coach was angered over two plays in their Game 3 loss to the Canucks: a phantom high stick by Jerred Smithson(notes) that caused Roberto Luongo(notes) to dramatically recoil, and Ryan Kesler's(notes) stick-hold-turned-hooking-call against Shea Weber(notes) that led to the overtime game-winner.
"That's gamesmanship, and I understand that. It's also a little bit putting the referee in a tough spot. We have the best referees. If you're going to make them look bad, I don't think that's needed in the game."
Working the refs didn't work: Vancouver had three power plays to the Preds' two in Game 4.
This isn't meant as an indictment of Ovechkin, who is a great talent and a great ambassador for the game. Instead, hopefully it causes some who support Ovechkin "over" Crosby to simmer down a bit.
Good luck with that.
In March, the Bruins rookie was holding court with the media in the game following the 182-penalty-minute affair between Boston and Montreal. And he told them he wasn't really pleased with how the Habs would talk a big game but then embellish a call:
"They like to get in and shoot their mouths off and then when you hit them they'll dive down and fall easy," Bruins forward Brad Marchand told reporters after Tuesday's morning skate. "They get a lot of shots behind the play, and then they play it off like when we run them they didn't do anything to deserve it. That's the kind of team they are, they're pretty good at it."
Of course, no one remembered that trash talk after what occurred later that night.
When he wasn't disparaging the good name of Madison Square Garden, Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau was going after Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos and teammates for embellishment. From March:
"We don't like the way they dive every two seconds and they lead the league in power play attempts because they've got guys like [Steve] Downie -- even though he might not be playing tonight -- who if I was a referee I would never make a call on him ever because he dives every two seconds," Boudreau continued. "[Steven] Stamkos, dives every two seconds. You start to get a hatred on for guys like that. So, it will be interesting."
Also interesting: The Lightning needed only four games to end Boudreau's season.
In Game 3 between the Bruins and Montreal, NESN play-by-play man Jack Edwards was calling the frantic final minutes when Canadiens defenseman Roman Hamrlik attempted to draw a penalty.
Jack was having none of that, and actually bellowed "GET UP!" over the air:
An instant classic from one of the NHL's greatest homer announcers. Although we're saddened that he couldn't find a way to reference the Battle of Bunker Hill or another great moment in Revolutionary War history here.
5. Dan Boyle on the Vancouver Canucks
After a Game 1 loss created a slew of questions about the San Jose Sharks, defenseman and alternate captain Dan Boyle did what any veteran leader should do at a time of adversity: Change the conversation to the Canucks diving like the Hawkmen from "Flash Gordon."
"Their heads are going back like they're being shot with a gun," he said of the reaction by Canucks players when they're met with a body check. "Hopefully the refs see it, most of the time. They got one right in the end at least, though unfortunately I had to go with him."
"Well, they're getting away with it, and it's working for them. So, if it's working why are you going to change it?" he asked. "We just hope the referees watch tape like we do, and they see some of the things other people have seen. There were a few questionable calls, that's for sure. Hopefully the referees pick it up more often than not."
"So Dan, about blowing those third period …"
Last October, media relations guru and Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards claimed it's difficult to play the Penguins because "they're gonna be falling down pretty easy," and that Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy(notes) allegedly took an "easy" fall on a slashing call assessed to Richards during the game.
"I barely touched him," Krejci said, according to WEEI.com, adding that he felt he was hooked later in the game when he had the puck, but it went uncalled.
Krejci was careful to speak too freely on his thoughts about Subban, but he did make one thing clear. "I don't like him," Krejci said of Subban, according to WEEI. "I'm not going to say what I think about him, but I don't like him. I think he didn't have to go down that easily."
A Bruin with outright loathing of a Montreal player? How odd.
2. Bob Murray on the Nashville Predators
The Anaheim Ducks GM unleashed one of the most memorable rants on diving during their opening-round game against the Predators … in which he openly wondered if his team needed to start diving themselves.
While he made clear that he was not pleased with the Ducks' effort Sunday in their 4-3 Game 3 loss, Murray is disturbed by the Predators' maneuvers to gain power plays and said that "it's becoming soccer."
"It's become a tactic," he told the Register, speaking at the team's hotel. "I've watched enough. First things first. We have to have less passengers. We have too many passengers right now. But when you're playing a game and [there's] a constant stream to the penalty box because these guys are diving left and right … we have to start diving.
"I'd never thought I'd say this to my hockey team. We've got to start diving because it's working. It is working. They're getting power plays because of the diving. I can go through the list of players. You already know who they are. You've seen them. It's ridiculous."
"How do you hook a guy in this game and fall forward?" Murray asked aloud. "The penalty is a hook and the guy falls forward. When you get hooked, you don't fall forward. You go back. It's just ridiculous. But our guys are going to start doing it. That's what I'm telling them. It's working."
In the end, the Predators stayed on their skates long enough to advance to the semifinals.
And finally …
The accusation wasn't made in 2010-11, but it came to light in November 2010, which is good enough for us. NHL VP Colin Campbell, in the emails exposed by blogger Tyler Dellow, had the following rant to NHL director of officiating Stephen Walkom in 2007:
A bend in the road is a dead end if you round the corner and Dean Warren is standing there. Your answer re: his high stick calls and the score of the game were horse [bleep]. The 3rd call on [player] was while they were down 5 on 4 and on a def zone face off vs that little fake artist [player] I had him in [city] biggest faker going. And Warren fell for it when he grabbed his face on a face off. Your supposed to see the act, not call the embellishing act. Dean Warren has to go with [referee] There must be a way to get rid of this guy. Is there a way we can tract (sic) and total minors called by referees this year. We could then get the minors they call per game. ... or with 2 [referees on the ice] it is impossible? Warren and [referee] out of [club's] games. Give them to [referees].
The "biggest faker going" was later revealed as Marc Savard of the Boston Bruins.
It's one thing to have an opposing player or coach call you out for alleged embellishment.
But a league executive? That's deserving of No. 1 on this list. No fakin'.