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haroldsnepsts

Campbell calls (likely Savard) "Fake Artist" in email

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More on Campbell - Et Tu Bob?

A few days have passed since Tyler Dellow at mc79hockey.com posted the contents of emails between NHL Senior Vice President Colin Campbell and then-Director of NHL Officials Stephen Walkom that he came across while perusing now-public records from a court case brought about by the firing of referee Dean Warren. In that time, we've seen the immediate knee-jerk reaction, the counter-reaction, and finally the analysis on both from each side.

So what's come out of all of this?

The league has circled the wagons again to protect a member of the untouchable Old Boys' Club. Campbell and Daly have each weighed in with Daly coming to Campbell's defense, saying that the suggestion that Colin Campbell performs his duty with anything less than 100% integrity is factually wrong. Campbell himself called it "Much ado about nothing", blowing off the entirety of the controversy by stating, in his relationship with Walkom, the two knew about which things Campbell was merely venting and which things Campbell was outright directing

By-and-large, early fan reaction was that Colin Campbell should absolutely be fired for the tone of the emails and for the implication that he lets personal feelings get in the way of his job, then transitioning to the broader statement that this is just another in a long line of things for which Campbell should be fired. While the response from the league is not surprising, it's somewhat disheartening to those who believe that Campbell's removal would be a positive step forward for the league in dealing with two incredibly contentious issues: refereeing standards and supplemental discipline practices. Let's face it, before the new email scandal broke, NHL fans already had at best wavering trust in the league's ability to correctly enforce their own rules, both on and off the ice.

But then, in steps TSN's Bob McKenzie as a writer for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect. McKenzie is one of the few that are in deep enough with the league to get the trusted kind of insider info without being a self-interested independent media huckster. Unfortunately, what Bob has to say is not promising.

Join us after the jump for more.

First off, head on over to TSN.CA to read the full article. McKenzie starts us off talking about how the cries to remove Campbell are nothing new, but then he hits us with this brick:

The truth is there is this incredibly huge, and growing by leaps and bounds every day, disconnect between how hockey fans and media view crime and punishment in the NHL and how the league and those who comprise it -- the 30 owners, the 30 GMs, the 30 head coaches, the 700-plus players who play the game, the NHL head office executives led by commissioner Gary Bettman and, finally, the NHL Players Association -- deal with it.

That one hurts. We have to "deal with it" when the league goes too lightly on the dangerous hits. McKenzie, like he always does, makes some excellent points in the piece about how nobody on the inside of the game (as opposed to we fans, the outsiders) want the league to lean more heavily on the whipping stick when it comes to discipline. It costs the players money they don't want to lose, the coaches lineup headaches with which they don't want to deal, the GMs roster problems about which they don't want to think, and the owners dollars which they're throwing down the drain on a salary when there's no return. Of course, the last statement is the most frightening because not only does it make a lot of sense, but it also makes it an easy conclusion that the owners don't want all players treated equally by the league, which is already an issue about which we, the outsiders, worry.

McKenzie moves on to explain that Campbell is so deeply entrenched with the Old Boys' Club because his integrity in the room is not a question; that the "culture" of their club knows that it's ok to send these kinds of emails within the circle, because everybody knows that at the end of the day, Campbell will make a suspension call based on what he thinks is for the good of the game and not because of personal like or dislike for any particular team, player, or GM. While Campbell's dubious record with suspension may mean the reality of the situation is not in line with what the Old Boys' Club thinks, McKenzie's not wrong because he's speaking to the culture and not the practice.

What hurts here is Bob's defeatist tone to the whole article. Take this:

Face it, Colin Campbell could be deep-sixed tomorrow in his job as league disciplinarian, but do you really think anything would change? Fans and media could prance about and sing, 'Ding Dong, the witch is dead,' but the next guy would come in and it would be, meet the new boss, same as the old boss. No one in fandom or the media world liked the job Brian Burke was doing when he left the dean of discipline's office and no one likes the job Campbell is doing now. Do you honestly think the next guy who takes the chair is going to turn things upside down?

Or this:

The NHL is, at its very core, tribal and, at times, savage. While we in the media and the fans most certainly play a part in its theatre, we aren't full-fledged members of the tribe and never will be, nor do many necessarily aspire to be. That said, we still all push our collective noses up against the glass, bang our fists and demand to be heard on issues we think matter and on very rare occasions it sometimes occurs. But on this overall issue of crime and punishment in the NHL, the league's equivalent of tribal council if you will, there's a way the NHL has always done business and a way how they apparently intend to continue doing business and we can all bray as loudly and as long as we like, but we saw this week with 'Colie-mail' how quickly the wagons get circled.

It's not about one man, it never has been. It's about The Game, those who run it, those who play it and how they govern it. They do, we (media and fans) don't. That's just the way it is.

So that's it. They run the league and we don't. The fans should maybe stop complaining because we're the outsiders who are lucky enough to pay the salaries of these guys, the true stewards of the integrity of hockey. From the tone here, we're left to accept that the NHL is run the way it is or we're welcome to find another favorite pastime.

I say hell no.

This sport belongs to everybody. Bob doesn't outright say that we should all just learn to accept this crap, but he damn well sure implies it with the tone. The minute the fans stop railing against the things they find unfair and quietly accept everything as gospel from the league is the minute that it falls apart. Money is a powerful motivator and if most of the people in power can manipulate the purity of the sport to squeeze the maximum amount of cash out of it, they absolutely will. While there's never going to be a consensus about pretty much anything from the fans, the discussion is what keeps hockey alive as a sport instead of something in the relatively new category of "sports entertainment." To stop complaining and accept league rule is to confirm to those running things that what they do in these situations is acceptable and that, good sirs, is indeed the biggest injustice that could come from this.

However, McKenzie is right about how it's not about one man and it never will be. Personally, I buy the stuff about Colin Campbell being a guy that the Old Boys can trust to have in their club. Perhaps Campbell doesn't need to be fired because, after all, you'd only be removing one man. Instead, how about we talk pulling the job out from under him? There's a lot of talk out there among fans that perhaps it's time to take a look at why league discipline is limited to one man's integrity or biases. Campbell can keep his position, but he should lose his job as the one and only person who gets to decide on the fate of players in regards to supplemental discipline.

If that job is handled by one man who is looking out for the interests of the league and, as I said above, the league's primary interest is making money, then how can we, the outsiders trust that these decisions are made in good faith? Perhaps the importance of treating each NHL player as equal is too difficult a job for a man who has to hear constantly from GMs about how their players are the most equal guys in the whole league. I personally would propose moving the responsibility of supplemental discipline to a three-person committee made up of a league representative, an NHLPA representative, and an NHLOA representative. You wouldn't be removing bias from the situation here, you would just hope that the biases for the three main organizations responsible for the sanctity of our game would help balance out.

Of course, when you tie this into the consideration that Campbell is also in charge of dealing with the Director of Officiating and look at the inconsistency in the way the game is called, perhaps Campbell's job with the Old Boys should be completely re-evaluated. I have no doubt that he knows the culture and he knows the game inside-and-out, but when he's sat at the helm of the two biggest problems most fans have with the sport, it's time to assess what kind of value his experience truly brings. If the league does end up taking the sane advice to make supplemental discipline the responsibility of a balanced committee, this would be the second large change they've had to make in response to things that Colin Campbell could not get right in the first place (the first being the introduction of Rule 48 about blind side headshots, of course). Do his well-rubbed elbows more than make up for the amount of people he's rubbed the wrong way?

If Bob really believes that removing Campbell won't change the way the SVP dishes out punishment, then maybe it's time for us as fans to challenge the system, not the individual.

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Bill Patrick the studio host, Dreger in Toronto, 2 studio analysts: Billy Jaffe and Dave Maloney (for ranger captain)

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Watching the Rags/Bruins game and Sam Rosen and the other dude just repeated verbatim the "if you know him you wouldn't question his integrity...he does an awesome job" bools***. It's like a memo went out to all media outlets to repeat this s*** over and over. Damage control HUT!!

esteef

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Watching the Rags/Bruins game and Sam Rosen and the other dude just repeated verbatim the "if you know him you wouldn't question his integrity...he does an awesome job" bools***. It's like a memo went out to all media outlets to repeat this s*** over and over. Damage control HUT!!

esteef

Was just going to comment about this too. I love how they chalked it up to "tongue in cheek" comments and how Campbell has a good sense of humor.

Oh, he's such a joke-ster! Funny sarcastic Collie.

Lookout! He might get you with a shaving cream pie. :rolleyes:

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This may be a dumb/rhetorical question, but are there really people who believe the NHL brass is above reproach and beyond criticism? Good God, this is really embarrassing.

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The arrogance and condescension that comes from the top of the NHL is downright infuriating.

Anyone who dares question an action of an official or ref is pretty much a slack-jawed yokel who obviously has no idea what they are talking about and deserves to be outright laughed at. I'm always amazed at the self-control of anyone interviewing Bettman, to not simply punch that sneering, smug "you're all idiots" look off his face.

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This may be a dumb/rhetorical question, but are there really people who believe the NHL brass is above reproach and beyond criticism?

Yes, they appear to be called "journalists"

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The arrogance and condescension that comes from the top of the NHL is downright infuriating.

Anyone who dares question an action of an official or ref is pretty much a slack-jawed yokel who obviously has no idea what they are talking about and deserves to be outright laughed at. I'm always amazed at the self-control of anyone interviewing Bettman, to not simply punch that sneering, smug "you're all idiots" look off his face.

A case of beer to whomever does.

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Nothing untoward in ‘fake-artist’ email, says NHL’s Colin Campbell

Embattled NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell has finally spoken out to defend his controversial emails, speaking on the league-owned NHL Network.

“I’d regret the tone of the emails if I had known this many people were going to read them, and those who might not like the National Hockey League or me or disagree with my decisions would find a way to read into what I wrote,” Campbell told the Network. “I don’t regret doing what I did as far as my job because there (was) no intention to do anything wrong at the time. There was no affecting any game. Everything was up front.”

Campbell has been the centre of attention after a local blogger Tyler Dellow (mc79hockey.com) deciphered redacted parts of Campbell’s emails – that were evidence in the wrongful dismissal suit of referee Dean Warren — that showed Campbell called Marc Savard a “little fake artist.”

Warren lost his wrongful dismissal suit, but is appealing.

Some wondered whether Campbell’s opinion of Savard may have led to Campbell deciding not to punish Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke last season after Cooke blindsided Savard, who is still suffering from post-concussion syndrome.

“That’s the most ridiculous statement, or one of the more ridiculous statements I’m hearing in this whole affair,” said Campbell, who coached Savard with the Rangers in the late 1990s. “I had Marc when he first broke into the league. I was coaching the Rangers and I liked Marc. Marc was a talented player. I knew Marc could embellish and Marc embellished well. I was surprised how well he did embellish. When you’re the coach of a player who knows how to embellish you call it ‘drawing penalties.’ When you’re a coach against a player you call it diving or a fake artist, whatever you want to call it.

“For someone to say that I didn’t want to suspend Cooke because Marc Savard might be faking, there’s no way I thought Marc Savard was faking. One thing about Marc Savard is he was a tough, durable player. He wasn’t someone who would fake an injury. There is a big difference between diving to try to draw a penalty and faking an injury.”

A new rule outlawing blindside hits was introduced this season.

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The funny thing is that Campbell just confirmed Dellow's findings with that interview on NHLN. We all knew that he was talking about Savard, but now he just confirmed it.

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The funny thing is that Campbell just confirmed Dellow's findings with that interview on NHLN. We all knew that he was talking about Savard, but now he just confirmed it.

Did he do the whole "passionate hockey dad" thing again?

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Colin Campbell has total screw-up immunity.

As Dellow said on Twitter, it's nice to see that Tiger Woods' PR team can still get work. <_<

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Cooke spoke out on the matter, saying he was okay with Campbell, though he also did have this to say regarding being called a faker by Campbell.

Savard played for Campbell when the two were with the New York Rangers in the late 1990s, and Savard admitted his style of play was encouraged at the time.

"One of the ways when I first came in the league to stay in the lineup was draw penalties," he said. "I think he encouraged it at the time if you asked him. So I think that's what he was referring to, but it had nothing to do with the Cooke situation."

http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/nhl/news/story?id=5829728

Edited by haroldsnepsts

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Colie would never encourage one of his players to embellish or dive to draw a penalty. His integrity and honesty is beyond question. I think Savard owes him an apology.

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I don't think we've seen this article before. Covers the players' take on the whole situation.

http://delcotimes.com/articles/2010/11/20/sports/doc4ce8a1056dbb4021226525.txt?viewmode=default

They conducted a poll of 30 NHL players and...

Of the 30 active players, all 30 said they believed Campbell’s integrity has been permanently broken because of the e-mails — even if they were old e-mails and were taken out of context.

One player said it didn’t matter.

“Someone who wasn’t with our organization at the time got an e-mail from Colie saying something negative about me,” one player said. “I can’t say anything publicly though, because if I ever have to go in front of him, it could affect what happens now.”

There was one active player though, who felt this Daily Times poll was a bit of a fruitless effort.

“Colin Campbell is really unimportant,” he said. “You’re focusing your inquiry in the wrong area. Anyone who thinks Colie is the guy actually handing down the discipline is naïve. Until the guy who really makes those decisions is called into question, the problems we have with inconsistency with rules and discipline are not going to go away.”

“Who are you talking about,” the reporter asked.

“Who do you think,” asked the player.

“Gary (Bettman)?”

The player offered a smirk and a nod as he walked away.

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