Yesterday the Habs and Bruins played a great game, the Habs won (yay!) the Bruins lost (WHOOOOO!!!). Charlie Pierce reacted to the game by excellently reminiscing about his days being a Montreal fan in the Boston ‘burbs. And Claude Julien reacted by blaming it all on the dirty Canadiens diving. This wasn’t just sour grapes, though, said Julien – “it’s not about tonight” – it’s about the integrity of the sport as we know it. A man as steadfastly honourable as Claude Julien would never use his press conference for a cheap shot, he simply noticed a grave problem in the hockey world, and would not be silenced. For if he did not speak now, when the divers come for him, who will speak up? “It’s not about the money, it’s the principle of the thing” the saying goes – and Julien is a man of principle. We are lucky that Julien is leading the Bruins as a beacon of forthrightness in the benighted world of the NHL. Or, you know… not.
Here’s what I don’t think you’re expecting me to say: I commend Claude Julien for doing this. Really. I don’t like diving, I think more of an effort should be made to stamp it out of the game. Claude Julien is right that it’s an embarrassment, and he’s right to call attention to it. People (me in this post included) have ridiculed his hypocrisy and holier-than-thou attitude because it’s just so easy. But, hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue (La Rochefoucauld). It’s shitty that the Bruins dive so much, but given that it happens, it’s much better that Julien pretends to be against it. Are his comments more likely to increase or decrease the amount of scrutiny for diving? The amount of scrutiny for diving on the Bruins themselves? By officials? I think the answer is obvious. Claude Julien ignored the fact that the Bruins also benefit from diving to call it out in the sport. I can’t see how anything bad will result from this, and greater attention to the issue of diving is a possible good outcome. I applaud the son-of-a-bitch.