November 15, 2010

Why Colin Campbell will continue to be the NHL's sheriff

On the heels of Tyler Dellow leaking emails (cached version here if site's still down) between Colin Campbell, NHL VP Mike Murphy, now Director of Officiating Terry Gregon, and former NHL Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom that were part of a court case involving former official Dean Warren, the blogosphere is lighting up in screams of joy and beginning to decorate for a "going away party" for the League's discipline czar.

The problem is, well, the NHL won't fire Campbell over these emails. In fact, he'll likely never be fired.

If the media backlash to some of his decisions regarding supplemental discipline haven't been cause for a change in the position, emails from him commenting on specific players won't be a smoking gun to send Campbell his pink slip.

Dellow unearthed the emails from CanLII, a Canadian legal site where you can search for various court cases (like this one involving former NHL goalie Vincent Riendeau v. the NHLPA). Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star originally reported on these emails in regards to the Warren case a year ago, so they've been out there for a while as part of the case.

You don't think Gary Bettman and Bill Daly, both with legal pasts, weren't briefed with what was going on with Warren?

Barring Campbell going all Brendan Fraser in "Airheads" and taking over the XM radio studios above the NHL Store in New York City to defend himself, he'll remain the man in charge of discipline until he decides to walk away.

We know how terrible and inconsistent Campbell's been at the job. Hell, two hits last season (Booth, Savard) that went unpunished were the basis for an entire rule change for this season.

The continual outrage towards Campbell will never end and if you're still invested at this point when a decision is handed down, do what I do: expect to be disappointed, therefore you won't be disappointed at all.

Photo credit Canadian Press via The Hockey News

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