Skip to main content

Preds' James Neal first player to be named & shamed under NHL's anti-diving push

Predators winger James Neal was the first publicly named offender in the NHL's new anti-diving push. And given Neal's non-pristine reputation, it's hardly surprising he received the dubious distinction.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

It is something of an understatement to say Predators winger James Neal has a reputation among NHL players and officials, and it isn't a good one. Even before he was dealt to Nashville this summer, he became infamous for embellishing and vicious episodes.

So it wasn't in the least bit eyebrow-raising to hear Neal was the first NHLer publicly named and fined under the NHL's new anti-diving legislation. He had already received a warning after a Nov. 13 game against St. Louis, but apparently the message didn't sink in. Because even the most ardent Preds fan who's being honest with themselves would have to admit the play for which Neal is being fined (which took place Dec. 13 against the Sharks) is laughably blatant diving:

The fine itself is insignificant – Neal makes $5 million a season – and the next time he's cited, the punishment only goes up by $1,000. (If he's called for it five or more times, the fine goes up to the maximum $5,000, and Preds coach Peter Laviolette would also begin to be fined on a sliding scale.) However, the embarrassment of being called out as a diver may cause him to re-examine his game and make necessary alterations to it.

Neal can claim innocence if he wants, but he's indicted here by past acts (including three previous suspensions) and simple high-definition video. Whether he likes it or not, people will be watching him closer than ever from this point on. We'll see if that's enough shame to make him change for the better.

TOP HEADLINES

Cal Petersen
Play

Screen Shots: Arizona's Arena, USA HHOF and Cal Petersen

Adam Proteau shares his thoughts on Cal Petersen, Jim Johannson being inducted in the USA Hockey Hall of Fame and an update on a potential arena in Tempe.

Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin
Play

Possible Trade Targets for the Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars are trending upwards. A report suggests they're ready to keep pushing for Stanley Cup contention with a top-six forward.

Jake Oettinger
Play

Why Short-Term Deals Are Better Gambles for NHL Goalies

Adam Proteau argues that the consequences of signing a goalie long-term can hurt a franchise much more than gambling on a short-term contract.