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CAMPBELL SHOULD BE COOKED

How is it that someone with only a high school diploma, is the Senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations for the National Hockey League?  It is clearly evident through his actions recently, he is not qualified and should be let go.  He has shown favouritism to certain clubs, like the Boston Bruins, over the years.  How he has lasted nearly 13 years is beyond me.

On November 15, 2010, TSN and various other media outlets reported on a string of emails from Colin Campbell. The e-mail correspondence became a matter of public record in the wrongful dismissal case of referee Dean Warren against the N.H.L. and the emails were entered into evidence in the case, although specific references to names and dates were blacked out.  In these emails, Campbell calls Boston Bruins centre Marc Savard a “little fake artist” after Warren assessed Colin Campbell’s son, Gregory Campbell, a high-sticking minor on Savard and sending further emails to director of officiating Stephen Walkom complaining about the work of referees who gave Gregory a late-game penalty that resulted in a tying goal.  It’s funny how he considers Marc Savard a “little fake artist” when Savard’s career has been ruined with several concussions, the last coming from an illegal hit by Matt Cooke.  That’s the mark of a great VP; criticize a good hockey player who was hurt by his own son.

Campbell dropped the ball again with his “expertise” in the Zdeno Chara ruling with Mike Murphy nearly two weeks ago, which saw Chara get away with an illegal hit to Max Pacioretty; a hit still talked about today.  Now again he had another chance to right the ship.  Though I still believe Campbell is not fully qualified to be in the position he’s in, at least he handed out a pretty severe suspension to Cooke today.  The incident with Cooke occurred less than five minutes into the third period of Sunday’s Rangers and Penguins game, when Cooke went high and landed an elbow on Ryan McDonagh‘s jaw.  McDonagh had his back turned to the Penguins forward, and was in the process of shooting the puck into the offensive zone.

“Mr. Cooke, a repeat offender, directly and unnecessarily targeted the head of an opponent who was in an unsuspecting and vulnerable position,” said Campbell. “This isn’t the first time this season that we have had to address dangerous behavior on the ice by Mr. Cooke, and his conduct requires an appropriately harsh response.”

Matt Cooke represents everything that’s wrong with this league.  He’s injured so many with his illegal hits and it’s time the league does something about it.  Enough is enough with this guy!  If it were up to me, I would banish him from the league!  I don’t think 14 games is enough of a suspension.  He’s already been suspended for minimal time and no progress has ever been made.  Simply put, Cooke hits to injure.  He’ll deny it but the evidence is all over.  So many injuries have come at Cooke’s expense, so why is he still allowed to play?  At least Campbell should have suspended him for the rest of the season with a hearing scheduled at a later date to discuss if Cooke should be allowed to play again.

If I were Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, I would release him.  I wouldn’t want him playing for my team or any association with him whatsoever.  Lemieux expressed his disgust with the punishment of the New York Islanders after a fight-filled game February 11, 2011 against Pittsburgh.  Lemieux called the game a travesty, said the N.H.L.’s suspensions of two New York players did not send a strong enough message to deter on-ice violence, and he implored the league to do more to protect player safety.  Well take a stand Mario; fine your player for his behavior!  If Lemieux does nothing, he’ll just be joining the list of the hypocrites running the N.H.L.

It’ll be interesting to see what the reactions, if any,  from Lemieux are and the response from Campbell’s decision.

Sources:  TSN, Wikipedia, National Post, Toronto Star

Until the next puck drops,

Nick

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WHAT HAPPENED TO ACCOUNTABILITY?

Tuesday night  I, along with many others, watched as Zdeno Chara‘s hit sent  Max Pacioretty‘s head into a glass stanchion, knocking Pacioretty out cold.  I watched as he laid motionless for several minutes.  I watched as he was taken out on a stretcher and sent to the hospital.  According to Montreal coach Jacques Martin, Pacioretty, 22, suffered a severe concussion and a fracture of the 4th cervical vertebrae when Chara ran him into the end of the glass that divides the players’ benches, late in the second period at Montreal’s Bell Centre.  It was an unfortunate play which very well may end Pacioretty’s N.H.L. career, which is a shame since he had been playing so well for the Canadiens.  Chara received a penalty for the interference and a game misconduct with a ruling set for Wednesday.  Many sports writers were certain Chara would be suspended, some even condemning his actions .

Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun wrote “Did Chara know the support post was there?   Almost certainly.   It was right beside the Bruins’ bench, past which both players were skating when he began to shove Pacioretty.  Did he maliciously push Pacioretty into the post?  Speculative, but not out of the question.  The two had clashed when Pacioretty scored the winning goal in a January game, and shoved Chara in the back afterward, as he celebrated.  But now, the league is into mind-reading, trying to put itself into Chara’s head and determine whether he meant to cause serious injury.  And it just doesn’t matter.  He did.”

There has to be a level of accountability when it comes to the players and their actions especially when it is perceived to be an “accident”.  I am in total agreement with Cam Cole’s statement.  Even though Pacioretty should have been more aware of where he was, I’m sure he didn’t expect to have his head shoved into the stanchion.  I just don’t buy into the ridiculous idea “it’s part of the game”.  I understand that it’s a rough sport, but when it comes to situations like this, when is the N.H.L. going to take a stand and hold players more accountable for their actions?  They had the chance Wednesday and they blew it.  They didn’t suspend Chara at all which is an outrage.

NHL senior vice-president of hockey operations Mike Murphy said in a news release.  “This hit resulted from a play that evolved and then happened very quickly — with both players skating in the same direction and with Chara attempting to angle his opponent into the boards.  I could not find any evidence to suggest that, beyond this being a correct call for interference, that Chara targeted the head of his opponent, left his feet or delivered the check in any other manner that could be deemed to be dangerous.”

When is enough, enough?  What’s it going to take to get through to these people?  Does a player have to die to get through to them?  I’m sure Mike Murphy would think differently if it were his son or Colin Campbell‘s son.  Wait, Colin’s son does play and what a coincidence, he plays for the Boston Bruins same as Chara.  Barely three years in, Pacioretty may be forced to retire because of this unfortunate incident where a player was not mindful of his surroundings!  That’s what it all comes down to, being mindful of your surroundings.  Had Chara paid attention to where he was, he most certainly would not have driven Pacioretty’s head into the glass stanchion!  So where’s the accountability?

Bottom line, the hit was late; it was interference; it caused injury and while the design of the boards and glass were largely to blame for the severity of the injury, the responsibility is still with the hitter.  Chara should have been suspended, even if for a measly two games, though I think he deserved more.  To those reporters who agreed with the N.H.L.’s decision, I ask this:  Where is your humanity?

Sources:  Vancouver Sun and TSN

Until the next puck drops,

Nick