Colin Campbell may think Marc Savard is the "biggest faker going," but the NHL disciplinarian is sure that the Bruins' center was faking nothing when he was blindsided by Matt Cooke last March.
Campbell, speaking to NHL.com, said that the notion that his thoughts on Savard had any impact in his decision to not suspend or fine Cooke is "ridiculous."
"That's the most ridiculous statement, or one of the more ridiculous statements I'm hearing in this whole affair," Campbell said. "I had Marc when he first broke into the league. I was coaching the Rangers and I liked Marc. Marc was a talented player. I knew Marc could embellish and Marc embellished well. I was surprised how well he did embellish. When you're the coach of a player who knows how to embellish you call it 'drawing penalties.' When you're a coach against a player you call it diving or a fake artist, whatever you want to call it."
Campbell tried to clarify that in no way did he believe Savard was "faking" when he lay on the Pittsburgh ice.
"For anyone, anyone in the game to think, years later, a comment like that would be attached to an incident involving Cooke and Savard, they're crazy," he said. "For someone to say that I didn't want to suspend Cooke because Marc Savard might be faking, there's no way I thought Marc Savard was faking. One thing about Marc Savard is he was a tough, durable player. He wasn't someone who would fake an injury. There is a big difference between diving to try to draw a penalty and faking an injury."
Campbell's words were entirely unapologetic, and he said the e-mails he wrote in 2007 in no way affect his decision-making. He said the e-mails "were out there already and some blogger tried to string them together and make them look bad together" and that the only regret he has about the e-mails is that so many people ended up reading them.
"For anyone who cares to question my integrity and how I do the job, hey, let them do it," he told NHL.com. "It's going to continue as long as I do this job. For those who don't like me or like to criticize the National Hockey League or someone in a management position, this is a ripe opportunity for them to jump on it."