Former NHL defenseman, head coach, and for the past 12 years, Director of Hockey Operations and chief NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell is in hot water this week. Former NHL official Dean Warren has filed a complaint against his termination to the Ontario Labour Relations Board, and he believes Campbell had a lot to do with it.
Angry emails by Campbell to other NHL executives are starting to be released online. The other day, Yahoo Sports, via a blogger named Tyler Dellow, analyzed some of them, saying they "reveal the candid, petty assessments by an NHL executive on the league's on-ice officials' performances." More than that, they pose possible conflict of interest issues and bias against certain players.
Dellow narrowed down some of the scrubbed out player names from Campbell emails dating back to 2006 and for Boston Bruins fans, the most alarming email allegedly involves a (Florida) Panthers-Bruins game from February 24, 2007, when three minor penalties were called on one player.
The opposing player who drew one of them was called "that little fake artist." The penalized player was his own son Gregory Campbell, and the "fake artist" was Bruins center Marc Savard. Warren, who called the penalty on the "biggest faker going," was said by Campbell to have fallen for Savard's act and as a result needed to go, or at least not allowed to referee any more of the (redacted) "club's" games.
Three years later, on March 7, 2010, Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins cold-clocked Savard. Having a reputation as a head hunter didn't apparently matter to Campbell. He could find no NHL rule violations by Cooke and therefore did not suspend or even fine him, to the shock of the hockey world.
To Campbell, it was just a simple shoulder-to-head hit. I guess you could say that based on the newly released emails, he was too biased based on the aforementioned Savard incident to see that the Bruins center was BLINDSIDED by Cooke after taking a shot at the net. So when you're blindsided near the boards, it's a boarding penalty, but if it happens in the middle of the ice, that's perfectly legal and not punishable? Wow.