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To: Mr. Colin Campbell, Senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations for the NHL
From: A Bruised and Boiling Bruin
Dear Mr. Campbell,
You might remember a still-unanswered letter I sent you last spring concerning Mr. Matt Cooke’s less-than-legal hit on Mr. Marc Savard, which occurred the night of Sunday, March 7, 2010. I sincerely believed I had gotten over my anger directed towards you, it being a new season and all, especially with the Boston Bruins doing rather well, despite the continued absence of Mr. Savard. Thanks to Mr. Tyler Dellow, who has risen from the obscurity of an Edmonton Oilers blog to hero of Black & Gold fans worldwide, I realized I was wrong. In fact, I think I’m even angrier than I originally was and that is the result of your now public grudge against Mr. Savard, which is now making many people wonder if your lack of response to Mr. Cooke’s hit, which left Mr. Savard concussed and depressed, was personal.
Let’s start at the beginning so everyone can get caught up. Mr. Dellow, who spends his days as a lawyer in Ontario, passes his free time trolling the Canadian Legal Information Institute’s (CanLII) website for interesting cases relating to the NHL. He recently came across Mr. Dean Warren’s complaint against the NHL, which fired him as a referee. Most of the paperwork is cause for a yawn, but you, sir, sent a number of emails that are causing quite a stir.
In an email to Mr. Stephen Walkom, the NHL’s director of officiating, from February 2007 (all names, dates, teams and other information that may identify someone besides the plaintiff and defendant have been removed), you wrote,
“The 3rd call on [player] was while they were down 5 on 4 and on a def zone face off vs that little fake artist [player] I had him in [city] biggest faker going. And Warren fell for it when he grabbed his face on a face off. Your supposed to see the act, not call the embellishing act. Dean Warren has to go with [referee]. There must be a way to get rid of this guy.”
Thanks to some serious research by Mr. Dellow, who is giving the Canadian legal system some major points despite the NHL’s judicial incompetence, it has been reasoned that you are referring to February 24, 2007’s game between the Florida Panthers and the Boston Bruins during which your son, Mr. Gregory Campbell, formerly of the Panthers and currently a Bruin, was called for a high-sticking minor following a face-off against Mr. Savard, whom you deemed to be a “little fake artist” and “the biggest faker going”.
Now, I can understand that you are a “hockey dad”, which is what you are using as a defense against these allegations, and were rather passionate about the game since your son was playing. And you may believe that Mr. Savard is a whiner and fake artist after having coached him when he was a New York Ranger. But how can you disparage and belittle a player whom you are charged with protecting? In the old days, players would just protect their teammates, but with your recent rule changes that severely penalize instigating and third-man fighting, it’s up to the league to protect its players. How can we expect that you will protect someone when it seems you hold a fairly strong grudge against him or at least a very low opinion of him? Those emails are pretty damning, Mr. Campbell, and one has to question your impartiality.
While I think your personal vendetta against Mr. Warren is enough to call into question your ethics and ability to discipline, I think you have a much larger predicament on your hands. These emails are gaining plenty of attention and the mainstream media is picking up this story. The NHL has already released a statement, putting their absolute confidence in you, but that’s to be expected when you’re the commissioner’s boy toy, right?
Now, in an ideal world, you, Mr. Campbell, and the majority of the league’s front office would just be wiped from the NHL universe, but for now I’m pleased to just see you sit in a little bit of hot water, sweating this out, wondering if Mr. Bettman will actually make the right choice. He won’t, but that doesn’t mean your day won’t come eventually. If you didn’t learn from Mr. Tiger Woods, even deleted emails don’t disappear. There’s a record of your personal emotions preventing you from doing your job. That sounds like some decent grounds for a lawsuit from Mr. Savard if you ask me. I’m no lawyer, but Mr. Dellow is, and if students can sue universities for their inability to find jobs, I suggest you lawyer up. There are plenty of people looking for jobs and I’m sure there’s one with more intelligence than the modicum you possess.
A Bruised and Boiling Bruin
P.S. I know you hope to be the general manager of an NHL team one day (don’t worry, I was rooting for you to get the Toronto job because now I’m supposed to hate Mr. Brian Burke, despite the fact he was kind enough to give me his autograph a couple of years ago) and I really hope that you do get that job one day. In fact, I recently heard that Mr. Bettman, in all of his infinite wisdom, is thinking about relocating the Phoenix Coyotes/Atlanta Thrashers/Columbus Blue Jackets/[insert name of team with embarrassingly low attendance] to Dildo, Newfoundland.* I think you’d do well there.**
* – Not known to be fact, but who can put it past him?
** – My apologies to the current residents of Dildo, NL, who would have to put up with Mr. Campbell as a neighbor.