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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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N.H.L. Relocation

The rumours continue to swirl around the fact that about a half dozen N.H.L. teams if not more are in red ink when it comes to running their franchises. More specifically in the sun belt, teams like Phoenix, Atlanta, Nashville and Florida to name a few are repeatedly drawing poor attendance and losing tens of millions of dollars a year in running their franchises.

This is a concern that needs to be addressed. N.H.L. commissioner Gary Bettman has on many occasions said he would prefer not to go the direction of relocation and instead try to fix the problem in these struggling markets. The problem is not getting better its only getting worse. The obvious solution, and this is coming from a fan’s point of view, is to move a few teams north of the border where hockey is religion in every corner of the country.

Here are a few scenarios that would make the N.H.L. a more healthy and successful league on a whole:


Phoenix Coyotes -Moving the Phoenix Coyotes to Winnipeg and bringing back the Jets would be a great move. They have a N.H.L. ready arena and an ownership group in place ready to put the deal together. Don’t be surprised if the Coyotes are playing in Winnipeg as early as this fall. I say cheers to that!


Atlanta Thrashers– A second Canadian city that would be a great fit for the cash strapped Thrashers would be to move them to Quebec City and bring back the Quebec Nordiques. Quebec City is in the process of building a new state of the art N.H.L. arena that should be ready by 2015. In the mean time, they could play out of the old Colisée arena. Bottom line here, it is a great market, very profitable and a new arena is on the way. Bring back the Nordiques!

This is where it gets a little difficult, teams like Nashville, Florida and even the New York Islanders are in trouble. The problem is there is only so many strong markets to replace these struggling franchises with and when I say struggling I don’t mean their performance on the ice, I mean poor attendance, out dated arenas and poor revenue. You could move them to other U.S. cities like Kansas City for example where they have a brand new N.H.L. ready arena just sitting there waiting to land a team, however the N.H.L. has been in Kansas City before in the 1970s and failed miserable there.  They only lasted two seasons, then called the Kansas City Scouts, before relocating.

So I guess the question is, does the N.H.L. really want to go back to a market that has already failed? The obvious guess is no. Other U.S. markets that have shown interest are Seattle, Houston, Oklahoma City, Cincinnati to name a few. All questionable markets for hockey if you ask any expert. Another potential solution would be to contract a few teams. It’s a 30 team N.H.L. but with so many struggling franchises and so few great markets to go to, maybe contracting a few teams would be a feasible solution.

Which ever way you shake it the N.H.L. more specifically Gary Bettman needs to seriously assess some of these struggling markets and make a move if the N.H.L. wants to be a profitable league once again, something that has truly been lacking since he took over as N.H.L. commissioner some 18 years ago.

It’s about time The Commissioner takes action!

And that’s my two cents,

Domenic