Dick Hall of Fame, Entry #4: Colin Campbell

24 Nov

Greetings all around and welcome to another sports-themed entry for the Dick Hall of Fame.  What?  He’s an executive so it doesn’t count?  Just an executive you say?  Give me a second here.  Wait, wait, here we go.  Colin Campbell started his illustrious career in the NHL with his selection by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Second Round of the amateur entry draft.  After his stint in Pittsburgh he bounced around to several other teams and eventually ended his career in 1985.  Now see?  There you go, he was an athlete.  So, no one can tell me I didn’t do my homework.  The most astonishing thing about his statistics (25 goals, 103 assists 1,292 penalty minutes) is that he appears to have a strong kinship with the goons he is supposedly passing judgement on as the NHL’s chief disciplinarian or league vice president (Also that he has a strong affinity with Pittsburgh which could explain certain biases, but I won’t go there).  Campbell also had a brief stint as a coach for the Rangers from 94/95 to 97/98.

Now it might become common knowledge, by now, that Colin Campbell has recently been in the middle of a firestorm of criticism for certain emails that he sent out in 2007. Basically, he identified a certain NHL player as faker and wrote an email complain about certain penalties that player was taking that he clearly thought were dives.  The problem is that the emails allow one to draw the conclusion that  Marc Savard was the “little fake artist.”  To be fair, he did play for Campbell during his coaching tenure with the New York Rangers, so, he may have more insight into Savard’s tendencies than we give him credit for.  This became a bigger issue when people mentioned the incident where Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke slammed his elbow/arm/whatever you see into Marc Savard’s head.  This drew criticism when Cambpell decided not to suspend Cooke at all and Marc Savard is only now attempting to return from symptoms of his concussion.  Maybe he thought this was legal (Maybe he just sees himself in Matt Cooke).

He is quite the artist

There were also further allegations in the emails.  The most damning, in my opinion, was that Campbell proceeded to make criticisms of a referee for negative calls against his son (who is also an NHL player).  This ref eventually was terminated and these emails came out during a trial when he was fighting for his reinstatement.  Now, I’m not an expert, but I believe that presents a potential conflict of interest given that he exerts authority over refs and the punishment system run by the NHL.  You don’t get to play Hockey dad and NHL VP at the same time.  It just doesn’t work that way.  To be frank, most hockey dads would make terrible NHL executives.  This will most likely put his son in some interesting situations during the season because most players don’t take to kindly to that (Like the kid who could barely skate but made the team and played the most because his dad was the coach).

Just like all overbearing parenting

By now, many of you have to be saying, this clearly was PRIME Dick of the Week material.  You just shat the bed and missed you opportunity to mock this person when the original incident took place.  Well, no.  These incidents serve as confirmation, for most, that Colin Campbell arbitrarily apportions his punishment and influence as an NHL executive.  This has been a theory many fans have had but were never able to prove.  For example, Alexander Ovechkin was given a 2 game suspension last year for a hit on Chicago’s Brian Campbell.  While Marian Hossa was given a penalty for a similar event in the playoffs but never suspended.  Assuming you are unbiased, you can interpret that both incidents are essentially the same and Hossa wasn’t suspended.  Why?  Because it was during the playoffs?  It is clear that there is no consistency in the way the NHL conducts discipline.  But this is a league that is run by Gary Bettman.  The man who thought the frigid states of FLORIDA and CALIFORNIA both needed more than one hockey team.

This also got 2 games...does it matter if it's true?

These three events clearly have no correlation in degree of punishment or severity of offense.  This has been a major theme throughout Campbells tenure.  From Bertuzzi to Avery.  Many people wonder if certain star athletes get special treatment, does Campbell only wait until someone criticizes him, etc.  The least he could have done was apologize for his actions and try to play it off as a misunderstanding.  Many calls from the media have trumpeted reform and an apology.  But at this point it looks really bad to apologize after the fact when everyone has told you to do it.  Kinda sounds insincere….   Ok…  I’m waiting.  What, no link?  Come on, what did he say?

“For someone to start splicing together e-mails and indicating and assuming things, then again that is an upsetting aspect to this whole scenario.”  Ah yes, attacking the messenger instead of dealing with the real problem.  The calling card of the true dick.  People wonder whether you were talking to referees for your son and intentionally waiving punishment on a player for hurting another player you didn’t like, and that’s how you start?  Fantastic work sir.  I would say you should be fired or step down for your actions, but, if it hasn’t happened by now, it won’t happen.  It’s a good thing you can’t get fired for your work emails, right?

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