VANCOUVER — There is nothing biased or subjective about the multiple videos on Youtube of Max Lapierre diving as a member of the Montreal Canadiens last spring. It’s the Youtube generation — you screw up once, and it lives on forever on the web.
But if History Is Made in the National Hockey League playoffs, then perhaps so is a reputation. Because in Game 1 of this Western Conference Final, Lapierre was nailed for diving again, this time after a run-in with San Jose defenceman Dan Boyle.
On Tuesday, Boyle reiterated what the Nashville Predators had stated in Round 1 — that diving is part of the Vancouver Canucks game plan.
"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."
Boyle received a well-deserved holding penalty on Lapierre late in Game 1. Lapierre got his own well-deserved diving penalty at the same time, for embellishing a hold into something that looked far worse than it was.
No problem, right?
Or, is this troublesome reputation that follows the Canucks from round to round something that head coach Alain Vigneault should address with his players?
"You know," Vigneault began, "in the Predators (Round 1) series against Anaheim, Anaheim’s GM (Bob Murray) said they should start to dive so they would get some calls because the Nashville players were embellishing. Last night, that (flurry in front of the San Jose goal) according to a lot of people changed the momentum of the game, take a look at the shift. Could there have been one, two, three penalties on that? You tell me.
"It’s a tough game," Vigneault concluded. "There’s a lot of things going on. Everybody’s trying to do their best."
Boyle isn’t buying it.
"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."
Lapierre is an energy player who, like many in his role, have been known to dive before to create a powerplay for his team.
"He’s always been a very emotional, intense player," said Vigneault, who coached Lapierre when the two were in Montreal. "Sometimes on the ice in the past, not with our team but with other teams, he’s been caught taunting or talking to the opposition. Obviously that’s caught certain people’s attention.
"But if you look at how he’s played this year, he’s finishing checks, he’s playing with a lot of intensity, a lot of emotion. He’s playing whistle to whistle. He’s playing the way we want him to play."
Mark Spector is the lead columnist for Sportsnet.ca
Follow me on Twitter.com @SportsnetSpec