Let us stipulate that diving, or flopping, is not so common in hockey as it is in some other sports we could name, nor is it generally treated with anything but outright contempt. It does exist, and it does, unfortunately often, work, but it’s not regarded with the grudging respect for its value it receives in those other sports—a regrettable yet inextricable part of the game, a true skill and even an art when practiced by those best at it. It is, absolutely, still all those same things in hockey, but at least here, as hockey people will tell you, it’s considered an affront to what those people imagine the sport to be, and to the image of it they’d like to project.
Whatever you think of diving—and those possessed of a soul despise it—there is nothing quite so satisfying as seeing it backfire. Game 3 of Blues-Stars was extremely satisfying.
Late in the second period, with the Stars trailing but on a power play, Dallas defenseman Esa Lindell decided it’d be even nicer to give his team a 5-on-3. So, three times in short succession, when Robort Bortuzzo gave him love taps with his stick, all of Lindell’s bones instantly disintegrated and he hurled himself to the ice, limbs flailing.
Lindell was penalized for embellishment, but Bortuzzo also got called for cross-checking. Is that justice, I ask you? It is not.
But justice would only be deferred, not denied. With the game tied and 1:38 remaining, Patrick Maroon potted a puck from right in front of Ben Bishop for the winner. Why was Maroon was so wide open on the doorstep? His man, Esa Lindell, was sprawled flat on the ice.
There are two possibilities here, and I’m not sure which is true nor do I really have a preference. The first is that Lindell flopped again, but failed to draw a whistle and cost his team the game. The second is that Maroon legitimately knocked him down, but the officials had heard Lindell cry wolf one too many times on the night.
The Blues now lead the series 2-1, and perhaps Lindell will see someone about his apparent inner-ear issues.