All Bruins fans (and a good number of hockey fans, for that matter) were stunned and disappointed when NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell did not suspend Matt Cooke for his vicious hit on Marc Savard last March.
Now, we might have an idea why.
According to Tyler Dellow of mc79hockey.com (a website that is getting far too many visitors for its server to handle at the moment), Campbell said in an e-mail conversation with former head of officiating Stephen Walkom that a certain player who drew a penalty on his son, Gregory Campbell, was a "fake artist." Based on circumstancial evidence, it's fairly certain that the player in question was Savard.
Player names from the e-mails were removed, but the conversation is centered around a high-sticking call on Greg Campbell, who hit Savard with his stick in a game in February 2007.
"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 name] I had him in [city] biggest faker going," Colin Campbell reportedly said in the e-mail. "And [referee Dean] Warren fell for it when [the player] grabbed his face on a face off. Your supposed to see the act, not call the embellishing act."
Colin Campbell wrote the e-mail to Walkom to complain about Warren, looking to get the referee fired.
Campbell coached Savard in New York in the 1997-98 season, lending credence to the fact that he was referencing Savard when saying he "had him in" a city that can be assumed to be New York, and that Campbell knew firsthand that Savard was the "biggest faker going."
Deller wrote that he came across the e-mails while scanning CanLII.org, a website containing Canadian legal documents. The e-mails in question were found in Warren's case against the NHL, which he filed after he was fired.
Whether Campbell's alleged beliefs regarding Savard played a role in the lack of discipline on Cooke can be debated, but the report certainly provides some damning evidence against him.
Update, 4:31 p.m.: The NHL has released statements supporting Campbell. Read them by clicking here.