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Colin Campbell Responds to Allegations, Puts Foot in Mouth

Colin Campbell didn't quite make his case. Note how he's looking away, as if to attempt an evasion of his questions. (NHL Video)

Recently, Colin Campbell has given several interviews regarding the fiasco he finds himself in. Being asked about everything from the Savard e-mails to calls for his resignation, to what it’s been like in general, Campbell seemed to labor through his answers, that is, when his answers were relevant at all. As Admiral Adama might say, “What the frak is wrong with him?”

During a sit-down interview with David Amber of NHL Network’s “On the Fly,” it was obvious that Campbell dreaded the experience more than Richard Nixon dreaded the Kennedy debates. I’m no body language expert, but it was perfectly obvious to me that Amber, looking straight ahead at Campbell, was interested in having a discussion about the controversy, and just wanted to know the genuine answers. Campbell, on the other hand, stuttered, looked away, and probably would have sweated a lot more if the room were warmer.

Remembering how Marc Savard was deliberately injured and not punished (despite repeat offender status) is central to the current problems relating to discipline as an example of NHL leadership’s incompetence, and Campbell was asked about that, his son Gregory, and various other subjects. So in defending himself and the NHL front office, let’s take a look at some questions and answers from Campbell’s sit-down and see how angelic he really is, shall we?

The e-mails pertaining to your son Gregory, what was the purpose of those e-mails?

The purpose of those e-mails …. was asking Stephen Walkom a question about whether a penalty was a penalty or not.

If I remember correctly, those e-mails also contained deliberations on how there must be a way to get rid of the referee. Campbell didn’t so much question whether or not a call was really a penalty so much as he tried to redefine the rules to his whims. And he called Marc Savard “a little fake artist.” You don’t do these things when you’re trying to find out the truth; you do them when you have a VERY unfair axe to grind and try to abuse your power to settle a vendetta that many people don’t even know about. And then you try to keep everything secret, because you know how bad you’re acting.

Do you see, though, how perception could change just because the fact that the role of a father and the role of the Senior VP of Hockey Operations, it’s hard to hold those two roles concurrently?

Campbell just went on a completely unrelated tangent about more penalties and calls and the like. He might as well have said, “Next question.”

How do you respond to those people, though, who feel, “Wow, there was maybe pressure put on.” As you said, that there was a pressure. A boss was calling one of his employers and saying…

Note: Campbell interrupted here to make a slightly unrelated point, and never actually answered the question at all.

I think it’s really shameful for people to think our referees would call it that way. Our referees are professional. When the game starts, they call the game as they see it. And for someone to think our referees can be intimidated or influenced, then you have to go a lot farther and reach a lot deeper than that.”

Maybe waiting to hear the whole question would have made the answer more valid, but Campbell made it quite clear in his e-mails that people, specifically himself, find the referees’ performances shameful. They do call the game as they see it, that is, unless Campbell wants them to see it a different way. And if they don’t, he tries to figure out a way to fire them. Campbell also went on to try to steer the conversation away from the controversy surrounding his son by claiming the controversy was really about the league’s credibility as a whole. As if he’s fooling anyone.

With regards to the e-mail referring to Marc Savard as “a little fake artist,” why use that specific language?

Well, that was just dressing room talk, and there’s a lot being made of that. You can be nice and say an embellisher, you can be nicer and say he’s good at drawing penalties.

Or, you can show your true colors outright and call him a little fake artist. You don’t use language that strong unless you really mean it, and aren’t just hanging out in the dresser room.

Do you think these e-mails going public has changed the public perception at all as far as how people perceive you hand out discipline?

People never liked how I hand out discipline at all from day one. The person that takes my job, they’re not gonna like the way he hands out discipline. If someone hurts or whacks or does something to their favorite player, they’re gonna think it should be 10 games instead of three, and if it’s their favorite player that we’re suspending they’re gonna think it should be none instead of three or four.

If you’ve been paying attention, people favor discipline in general when warranted, and at the appropriate level. That’s why people get upset when discussing how someone like Sidney Crosby would never be disciplined for shouldering someone in the head, because we know he wouldn’t when he should. The reason people don’t like your disciplinary methods is that they don’t make any sense, and are clearly biased against certain players. And when you say people don’t think their favorite players should be penalized, are you referring to Gregory Campbell, your own favorite player?

When the e-mails were made public, there was some members of the media who were calling for your resignation. What’s your response to them?

I answer to my boss, Gary Bettman, and I answer to the owners and I answer to the general managers. And when they feel that I’m not doing my job properly, then that’s who makes the decision, not some people in the media.

I’m reminded how John McCain said that the army brass should decide when to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and when they said to, he contradicted himself so blatantly, it was worthy of “The Daily Show.” Remember how all the owners and GMs were clamoring to close the loophole that so “conveniently” allowed Marc Savard to be put out of action? Campbell didn’t really act too swiftly to do anything concerning the people who thought Campbell wasn’t doing his job. And since the owners and GMs didn’t think Campbell was doing his job correctly, and fellow incompetent boob Gary Bettman of course said he was, that makes 2-1 against, and Campbell should resign, right?

But based on this incident, you had never contemplated resigning?

No, like resigning to me would be quitting. And we try to be truthful, we try to be passionate, we try to be right in doing this job and we try to be fair. And we know that we’re under the microscope. Every day, every day I’ve done this job we know we’re under the microscope and become the microscope. Every year I’ve done this job [it] becomes larger and louder and brighter.

I think Campbell’s e-mails prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he doesn’t try to be any of the things he claims to. And if he really knew he was under the microscope, he wouldn’t have been so care-free, and would have chosen a different form of communication, without a recording or paper trail, to plan his illegal acts. Campbell is so powerful, that he doesn’t have to be nice, and that’s the problem.

Just on a personal level, what has this whole experience been like for you, someone who takes their job extremely seriously, and has had their integrity challenged by some?

Note: by some?

I get mad when, when … I chose this job. And chose to keep doing it. And, I have a great boss, and very supportive, but it does get tedious, and, and it’s emotional at times when you get criticized so often for trying to do the right thing. And, uh, hey I enjoyed, when I coached the Rangers and we rode in the parade and a million people are cheering and it’s nice that people like ya. In this job, there’s not too many people that like ya and like your decisions, and then they don’t like you because of the decisions you make. And some decisions may be positive for some people but there’s always the negative aspect of my decisions. So, it gets trying at times and you just have to hope that it’s the right thing for the game and you’re doing the right thing for, for, for all our teams involved, and so, but I’d be lying to say it wasn’t trying and and and and tough at times.

He gets mad when, when … he actually has to fess up. Of course he has a great boss; they’re both cut from the same crooked cloth. He tries to do the right thing in the same way Cartman does so often. And don’t worry, Colin; people might still like you if you start making the RIGHT decisions. And don’t tell me, the negative aspects of your decisions are letting criminals light Matt Cooke go free and coddling your son, whom you hold on a higher pedestal than Christians hold Jesus, and letting the victims of your decisions suffer in intense agony, pain, and depression? Maybe all this is trying because you’re starting to be put on trial for your crimes. Forget Colin Campbell; we’d be MUCH better off with Colin Mochrie in his place. And by the way, the climax of Campbell’s “defense” here was really filled with the stuttering that tells you he’s clearly lying.

Gary Bettman Defends Colin Campbell

“I know that we owe it to our fans and our fans should expect that there is going to be integrity in our game in everything we do, and we believe we do that. People will disagree with decisions — reasonable people can always differ, especially when you deal with supplemental discipline. Obviously when you’re dealing with supplemental discipline, no two acts are the same, the context is different, the situation’s different, the players’ histories are different. I’ve said it repeatedly — supplemental disciplines are like snowflakes, no two are the same. And to do it, and to do it well, that is administer supplemental discipline, you must know the game, you must know all aspects of the game, you must be able to distinguish between an intentional act and an accident resulting from a hockey play.”

So if I’m reading into this correctly, and I clearly am, Bettman is implying that discipline will be harsher for people with histories of despicable acts and attempted injuries, and for purposeful hits. Matt Cooke fits both those descriptions to a tee. So why wasn’t Cooke punished? He was probably acting at Bettman’s and Campbell’s behest by nearly ending the career of that “little fake artist.”

Marc Savard’s Reaction

“I have nothing against Coli. I think that stuff was private stuff and I think that the stuff that he was saying was interpreted in a bad way. It had nothing to do with the Cooke incident. I played for Coli and I think that was one of the ways when I first came into the league to stay in the lineup was draw penalties and he encouraged that at the time, if you asked him. I think that’s what he was referring to. But it had nothing to do with the Cooke situation.

When I read them [the emails], it didn’t faze me. I just knew that he was talking about how when I dove a couple times when I played for him to draw penalties. I’ve obviously changed because I can play every night. But back then I was in and out of the lineup, so that was one of my bonuses drawing two and three penalties a game and getting on the power play. That’s the way I played.”

So Colin Campbell is charged with keeping integrity in the league and punishing wrongdoers, but it turns out he encouraged fake artistry all along. Sort of reminds you of how Mark Foley was in charge of protecting missing and exploited children, but it turns out he was trying to get with them a la Michael Jackson the whole time.

I bet that deep down, Savard feels the same way we all do, but if he doesn’t praise Campbell, he’ll be suspended, just like how the NBA punishes players and coaches for utilizing their First Amendment-protected rights to freedom of speech against horrid officiating.

That’s the biggest problem with this whole mess. Campbell and co. are so powerful that nobody else is allowed any rights under them. Their cronies are supported at the expense of the honorable. And when it’s obvious they need to go, they hang onto their power with their iron grip and falsely claim they deserve it.

Fun fact: $50,000 can get you a pretty good hitman if you have problems with someone like Colin Campbell. Legal advisory: this fun fact is just a jokingly fun fact and in no way constitutes actually breaking the law in such a manner, or against anyone in particular. It’s only illegal if you get caught, and the best way to not get caught is clearly not to do anything wrong, something Colin Campbell doesn’t understand. And in a separate phone interview with David Amber, Colin Campbell was introduced as “Colon” Campbell. How apropos is that?

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