Campbell was one of the players added to the Bruins this offseason. He also happens to be the son of the league's Dean of Discipline, Colin Campbell. In a series of e-mails obtained from the Canadian Legal Information Institute last week, Papa Campbell made it clear he doesn't like his son getting pounded on the ice.
"I'm a dad venting," the elder Campbell told Canada's TSN this week. "For me, it's much ado about nothing."
That puts Mr. Campbell in the company of millions of other dads. I watch my son play Bantam hockey, and when someone slams him to the ice, my immediate reaction is that the other player is an aggressor and should be penalized. I also think every call against my son is a miscarriage of justice.
Of course, I don't get to hand out suspensions and fines. I also don't get to question the actions of the referees who worked the game. Campbell does. And, according to the e-mails he sent league officials Stephen Walkom and Mike Murphy in 2007, he doesn't like penalties being called against his son. He vehemently protested a call against the younger Campbell to Walkom. Tyler Dellow of mc79hockey.com pored over game reports and discovered the game in question. Gregory Campbell got a high-sticking call while playing for the Panthers in 2007. The victim of the high stick was Boston's Marc Savard.
Campbell's dad thought it was a bad call. He also thought Savard may have been acting, calling him a "little fake artist," citing the time he spent coaching Savard in New York.
So, we've got two problems here … two big problems:
- The man in charge of discipline has a grudge against Savard. That's the same Savard who is still battling post-concussion syndrome and clinical depression from a hit to the head delivered by Matt Cooke. A hit that was deemed unworthy of additional discipline by Campbell. For all we know, Colin Campbell may have thought Savard was faking.
- The man in charge of discipline and overseeing the game on the ice is calling out referees for penalties called on his son.
There is only one way for the NHL to fix this situation. The league must move decisively to remove Campbell from the office. He is, by all accounts, a good hockey man and a man who has given a lifetime of service to the game. But his image as an impartial disciplinarian is tainted beyond repair. There is no way he can continue to do his job effectively. And there is no way the league should allow him to do so.
If you're a Bruins fan, there are many recent league decisions that have to leave you wondering if Campbell has a grudge against Boston. Two stand out: the Cooke decision, and the decision to let Scott Walker continue playing (and ultimately score the series-winning goal) in the 2009 Conference semifinals after his cheap shot on Aaron Ward.
We don't know if Campbell doesn't "like" the Bruins or not, but the e-mails certainly show that he doesn't seem to like one of their players.
Now, of course, his son is a Bruin. Maybe that will change the history of punishment that seems to go against the team.