Instead of having this labyrinthine system of warnings and inconsequential fines and public shamings, wouldn’t it easier for the NHL to declare that diving is an attack on the integrity of the game, like spitting at an opponent, or doctoring the ball or corking your bat in baseball? That this is an infraction that is grounds for a major penalty and an immediate expulsion from the game, and further suspensions? It would clean it up overnight.
There might be some actors out there who’ve made a few incidents look very natural, but how many more are so transparent they leap right off the video for you? Think about the Bruins diving video, every single one of these dives is as clear as the day is long, there is no debate about these. So you hit those incidents, just like when you catch a pitcher red-handed with the nail file in his pocket.
The thing is, when a player dives, he’s trying his best to make it look good, and doesn’t really know how it looks outwardly. So the players have no way of telling which dive they’ll pull off, which they won’t. With a substantial penalty, with consequences, with the fact that they may hurt their team by doing so entering their mental equation, I think 90% of dives are eliminated, at least.
Further, to assist referees, let’s use video, like in instances when a player is not penalized for an action on the ice, but can still be punished later by the league. Do the same with diving. If the refs can’t make the call instantly, but it can be seen clearly on video, the player will be disciplined.
Another change would be to discard the section in the rules that states that non-aggressive slashing isn’t really slashing, and just tell the players that you can only play the puck with your stick. That would help the referees to not have to evaluate how much slashing, in what situation, under which circumstances, and at which point in the game or season does it take to actually constitute slashing.