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Video: Clutterbuck embellishment vs. Flyers draws $2,000 fine

"I can't have my wages garnish-eed."

Long before coming to the New York Islanders, Cal Clutterbuck had a reputation both as a pest and as a bit of an embellisher. The NHL frowns upon both embellishment and diving -- it's important, at least for clarity, to understand they are two different things.

During the Islanders' matinee win over the Philadelphia Flyers two Mondays ago, Cal Clutterbuck embellished to help draw a call against Jakub Voracek, who was pretty ticked at the call. Under the NHL's new crackdown agreed to with the NHLPA, Clutterbuck has received a fine of $2,000 for what the league by definition has determined is his second offense this season.

(The first offense, which does not get publicly reported until a second one occurs, results in a warning. Clutterbuck was warned for an incident in the Dec. 6 game against the St. Louis Blues.)

Anyway, as this was over a week ago, I had trouble recalling the incident when I first heard about it. Worse (well, in a guilt sort of way), the Islanders scored on the ensuing power play.

But the NHL helpfully offers video of the incident, which is embedded above. While there is no opposite-angle video here to confirm, it looks like this was definitely a legit stick infraction by Voracek that disrupted Clutterbuck's ability to play the puck -- so, a penalty was properly called -- but Clutterbuck also clearly "embellishes" afterward to draw attention to the foul. (In the NHL announcement, they don't distinguish whether the dive/embellishment was on a legit call or not. As a rule, they try not to open questions on referees' judgment.)

Anyway, this fine is earned.

On embellishing: officials hate it. Most players tend to hate it, as they want to let the chips fall without exaggeration and theatrics. Of course, in contrast to completely faking to draw a penalty, embellishing seems to be done more to draw attention to the fact a foul was committed, which is a more gray area where some will argue, "I wouldn't have to embellish if you'd spot the damned foul to begin with." (And then over here you have soccer.)

Citations are issued by the National Hockey League Hockey Operations Department, which tracks all games, logs all penalties for diving or embellishment and flags all plays not called on the ice that in its opinion were deserving of such a penalty. A Citation is issued once Hockey Operations, through its internal deliberations, is convinced that a player warrants sanction.

Clutterbuck's next offense would be a $3,000 fine based on the NHL's graduated scale.

Of course, for Clutterbuck and the Isles here, the real risk isn't a nominal cash deduction, it's that once formally outed like this could lead to him not getting a call or benefit of the doubt in a meaningful situation, as the reputation will make officials more cautious.

Yea or Nay?

Anyway, this specific incident appears pretty open-and-shut, but if you disagree or have more to add, chime in and issue your judgment below.