BOSTON — Marc Savard has had more than enough to deal with this year already.
The last thing he needed was to be thrust into the latest controversy surrounding the NHL's dysfunctional leadership. But, that's exactly where Savard found himself last week.
Colin Campbell, Savard's former coach with the Rangers and the current senior vice president and director of hockey operations for the NHL, had a string of e-mails from 2007 made public in which he referred to Savard as "that little fake artist" and called him the "biggest faker going."
All this from the man who opted not to suspend Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke for the cheap shot last March that still has Savard sidelined as he tries to recover from post-concussion syndrome symptoms.
But speaking on the controversy for the first time after rejoining the Bruins for Saturday's morning skate, Savard stated he has no issues with Campbell or anything that was revealed in the e-mails.
"I have nothing against Colie," said Savard. "That stuff was private stuff. Stuff that he was saying got interpreted in a bad way. It had nothing to do with the Cooke incident."
Savard even admitted that when he first came into the league with the Rangers, he was prone to embellishing plays to try to draw penalties. He also noted that Campbell had no problem with it then.
"I played for Colie, and I think that was one of the ways when I first came in the league to stay in the lineup was to draw penalties," said Savard. "And I think [Campbell] encouraged that at the time if you ask him. I think that was what he was referring to, but it had nothing to do with Cooke.
"When I read them, it didn't even faze me," added Savard of the e-mails. "I just knew he was talking about when I dove a couple of 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 or three penalties a game and getting on the power play. That was the way I played and I think that was all he was referring to."
Savard claims he's always had a good relationship with his former coach.
"Me and Colie got along fine," said Savard. "He actually joked with me a lot. He made me feel comfortable and I owe a lot to him. He was my first coach that I broke in with and he gave me an opportunity, maybe a little too much of one playing the point on the power play my first year with [Brian] Leetch at the back end and [Wayne] Gretzky up front. That got me in a little trouble. But [Campbell] was great for me and I got no hard feelings against him. I think the media should maybe take it a little easy on him too."
Savard also doesn't expect any awkwardness now that Campbell's son, Gregory Campbell, is a Bruins teammate after coming over from Florida along with Nathan Horton in a trade this summer.
"I've talked to Soupy here and Soupy's a great kid," said Savard of Campbell. "We have no hard feelings against each other. I can't wait to get back and play with him."
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