Tyler Dellow of mc79hockey.com has uncovered emails dating back to 2007 between Senior Vice President/Director of Hockey Operations, Colin Campbell and then NHL Head of NHL Officiating, Stephen Walkom. The e-mails were pulled from a labor relations case filed against the league by former referee Dean Warren over his firing. In the same emails that discuss Warren's planned ousting, Campbell complains about calls against his son, Gregory Campbell and calls a player a "little fake artist" and "the biggest faker going". Campbell goes on to say that the player "puts his whining ahead of the game". The player's name was redacted, but Dellow's quick detective work unveiled that it was Marc Savard that Colin Campbell was talking about.
Marc Savard being a guy that likes to whine is not news to most fans that watch him play on a regular basis, the concern is more over Campbell's impartiality, especially in light of his (non) ruling in the Marc Savard-Matt Cooke incident. I have said for a long-time that Campbell being the league's disciplinarian and having a son in the league is a major conflict of interest, even if he does not rule on games involving his son. While, I will not get out the conspiracy theory tin foil hat and say that Campbell did not suspend Matt Cooke because he doesn't like the way Marc Savard carries himself on the ice, I will say that this is further evidence that Campbell's job description in the NHL league office should change. I'm not calling for his firing or demotion, I'm just saying that it is very hard for him to be impartial when his son is in the same league and these e-mails demonstrate that.
Colin Campbell and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly have commented on the report:
"Any suggestion that Colin Campbell performs his job with any less than 100% integrity at all times and in every decision he makes is way off base and just factually wrong."
- NHL Commissioner, Bill Daly
"For me, it's much ado about nothing. Stephen and I would have banter back and forth and Stephen knows I'm a (hockey) dad venting and both of us knowing it wouldn't go any further than that. Stephen would laugh at me. The game in question (when Gregory Campbell was penalized late in the Atlanta-Florida game) wasn't on TV and I was asking Stephen to find out for me if it was a soft call. That's all there ever was to it. The (refs) working that game are still in the league, aren't they? Stephen handled the officials, just like Terry Gregson does now, and I've got a lot of emails to those guys asking about this soft call or that soft call and that's in a lot of games. I'm not ultimately responsible for the (on-ice) officials, that's Terry Gregson's responsibility, but I have to answer to GMs on these calls."
- NHL Sr. VP/Director of Hockey Operations, Colin Campbell
In light of this report, the Bruins public relations team made it clear to members of the media before today's player availability that Gregory Campbell would not answer questions about the situation involving his father and would only field hockey related questions.