Colin Campbell, the NHL's Senior Vice President, Director of Hockey Operations and head of discipline, sent several emails criticizing penalties called on his son, Boston Bruins forward Gregory Campbell, to several NHL officials. The elder Campbell also may have referred to injured Bruins forward Marc Savard as a "little fake artist" in the emails.
The emails, which were released in the context of a Canadian lawsuit between the league and fired referee Dean Warren, were analyzed by Tyler Dellow on the site MC79Hockey. Dellow noticed that the emails corresponded with games in which the younger Campbell received penalties, and that the references to players he had coached fell in line with when Campbell worked with Savard on the New York Rangers.
Gregory Campbell, then with the Florida Panthers, received a penalty for a high stick to Savard's head in a February 2007 game, which drew the ire of Colin Campbell. In an email, the elder Campbell wrote to other NHL officials:
"Your answer re: his high stick calls and the score of the game were horse ----. The 3rd call on [player] was while they were down 5 on 4 and on a def zone face off vs that little fake artist [player] I had him in [city] biggest faker going. And Warren fell for it when he grabbed his face on a face off. Your supposed to see the act, not call the embellishing act."
In March of this year, Campbell decided not to discipline Pittsburgh Penguins left winger Matt Cooke after his hit on Savard that has kept him from action this season.
In a statement to Canadian sports network TSN, the NHL defended Campbell's work for the league, and says that they have protocols in place to keep the elder Campbell having any conflict of interest with his son. Said league deputy commissioner Bill Daly:
"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."
Colin Campbell told TSN that the emails were just a result of a "hockey dad venting."