The man responsible for dishing out NHL suspensions is taking some heat for ripping one of the league's stars, questioning bad calls against his son and calling for a referee to be fired.
Colin Campbell, the NHL's executive vice-president and head disciplinarian, apparently called Boston Bruins forward Marc Savard "a little fake artist" and ranted about penalties called on his son, Gregory, then with the Florida Panthers, in e-mails sent three years ago to Stephen Walkom, then the NHL's director of officiating.
The e-mails, which surfaced Monday after being obtained by blogger Tyler Dellow of mc79hockey.com, were used in former referee Dean Warren's hearing with the Ontario National Relations Board. Warren, the target of repeated criticism by Campbell in the e-mails, was trying to win reinstatement after being wrongly fired by the NHL.
In one rant against Warren, Campbell tells Walkom that the referee should never have called a high-sticking penalty on his son. The player Gregory Campbell high sticked was Savard, whom Colin Campbell called "the biggest faker going" and said Warren reacted to "embellishment" to make the call. Campbell coached Savard when they were both with the New York Rangers.
The NHL backed Campbell, however, in a statement sent to ESPN.com Monday.
"As Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations for the National Hockey League, Colin Campbell is required to analyze and assess, candidly and directly, the performance of every member of the Hockey Operations Department -- including those of all on-ice officials," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in the statement. "He also is required to execute the direction of the 30 Clubs with regard to standards of on-ice rule enforcement as well as on-ice player conduct.
"In the execution of those rigorous and challenging duties over 12 seasons, Colin has been thorough, thoughtful, professional and scrupulous; his integrity has been impeccable, and he has no role whatsoever in matters pertaining to games in which his son plays. Colin Campbell has the complete confidence and support of the National Hockey League, as do all members of the Hockey Operations Department."