New York Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman should receive plenty of votes for "Dive of the Year" thanks to his comical flop in his team's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Trailing by a score of 2-0 and scrambling in their own zone, Stralman was tapped on the knee by the stick of James van Riemsdyk. Stralman collapsed to the ice before gingerly limping to the bench. Upon reaching the bench, Stralman was seen smiling and laughing, enjoying the fact his team was preparing to take the man advantage due to his theatrics.
You may have a tough time finding a worse or more obvious dive in 2013.
Let's examine this play from an unbiased perspective. Stralman was hit by van Riemsdyk's stick. That point is clear. However, van Riemsdyk had just one hand on his stick and was almost fully extended and off balance, desperately trying to reach Stralman before he sped out of the zone. If you've ever held an object at full extension while losing your balance, you're aware you can't generate very much force with the object you're wielding.
Did van Riemsdyk's stick catch Stralman in a bad spot? It's possible it caught him a bit above the knee pad, but it looks like at least some of the contact, as little as there was, should have been absorbed by the bulky knee pad every hockey player wears. If any contact was above the pad it should be a fraction of the contact an NHL defenseman receives in the same area of the body on a routine basis.
Want some additional comedy? The New York broadcast sympathized with the injury, stating how badly it must have hurt – a stark contract to the Toronto broadcast above.
Using the laws of common sense, nothing on the play should have sent Stalman down to the ice. Nothing should have caused to limp off. If you needed additional proof, consider Stralman's laughter on the bench and appearance on the power play that he help earn through his theatrics.