Massive, Massive Officiating Scandal In NHL?

Holy smokes. The story in a nutshell: a pile of harsh e-mails, a lot of elbow-grease and research, accusations of favouritism and grudges by an extremely high-ranking National Hockey League official, and a generally stunning, unprofessional tone from oft-despised NHL vice-president Colin Campbell.

The apparent scandal was broken by a mere blogger–paying attention, so-called sports journalists?–and I read it on Yahoo’s Puck Daddy. From that other PD, Greg Wyshynski:

Blogger Tyler Dellow has damned NHL vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell with his own words. For any fan or player who has ever accused or suspected the league’s top disciplinarian of being a vindictive, biased model of inconsistency whose favoritism and politics have turned the NHL’s supplemental discipline system into professional sports’ greatest punchline … Merry Christmas.

On Sunday night, Dellow posted a few dozen emails exchanged by Campbell with members of NHL brass in 2006 and 2007. They were submitted as evidence in a complaint brought before the Ontario Labour Relations Board by former NHL official Dean Warren, who disputed his termination from the NHL.

The frequently profane communications about Warren’s alleged incompetence had been previously reported in the media; the details Dellow discovered in the emails goes beyond that case and strike at the axel of the NHL’s wobbly Wheel of Justice.

The Colin Campbell Emails aren’t as much a revelation as much as a confirmation for his critics. They reveal criticism of officials who dared call disputed penalties on his son Gregory Campbell(notes), now a forward with the Boston Bruins. They reveal the candid, petty assessments by an NHL executive on the league’s on-ice officials’ performances.

The most damning aspect of this is that the e-mails appear to show Campbell holds a grudge against concussed Bruin’s centre Marc Savard. Savard was badly injured last year by Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke. The vicious hit drew no supplementary discipline from Campbell, stunning observers, including Don Cherry.

Betcha Campbell will be off active duty within 48 hours. Betcha he’ll be out of a job by January. But we’ll see.

Here’s Cherry on the Savard hit.

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth will never, ever pass up a chance to make a Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo pun.

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