Campbell Clarified

| John Chandler

Colin Campbell, the NHL’s Current Senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations, as well the man who lays down the infamous league suspension hammer, was on 640 Toronto’s Leafs Lunch radio show with Bill Watters and Jeff Marek earlier today.

Campbell was brought on the show to quickly discuss the comments he made in yesterday’s CP article about the state of fighting in the NHL:

“I think it’s time to ask the question,” Colin Campbell said on Thursday. “I think you have to ask the question because of what’s happening out there. It’s incumbent on me, because of my position, to ask the question.”

“I’m not afraid now to talk about the fact that we should look at fighting in hockey,” said Campbell. “I think if you discussed this even three or four years ago you would have got pooh-poohed out of the game.

“But now I think because of the size of our players, where we’re at in sports and in life, I think we have to look at it.”

Campbell’s comments drove many to believe, just like Metro News Canada for example, that the NHL was going to consider taking fighting out of the game.

Hold the phone peoples! Campbell made sure to let listeners know that he doesn’t want to take fighting out of the game at all, he merely wants to take a look at it. Apparently the declining number of requests to drop the gloves in response to something a player did earlier in the game is alarming to Campbell and I couldn’t agree more.

Campbell didn’t hold anything back when giving examples of situations where another fighter didn’t answer the call after delivering a hard check or a cheap shot to another player or his teammate. Campbell said that he didn’t understand why Darryl Bootland turtled to Jordin Tootoo last week. He also doesn’t understand why Derian Hatcher declined to dance with Ryan Vandenbuscche last year after Hatcher nailed Sidney Crosby with a hard hit.

Campbell gave credit to Jon Sim last night in dropping the gloves with Mark Bell and stepping up to try and create a spark for his team. He also mentioned that Sim will now miss the rest of the regular season and possibly the playoffs with a broken orbital bone. Coupled with Colton Orr KOing Todd Fedoruk the night before, fighting is now at the forefront of what needs to be discussed according to Campbell.

These events have pushed Campbell to want to question the role of fighting in hockey. He wants to find out the new answer to when two players are able to drop the gloves. He wants to find out if there’s a new answer to “when are players are able to drop the gloves?”. Campbell was quick to say that the drastic change in fighting compared to years past isn’t because of one group of players but rather the influx of players from a different era.

Watters made a bold move towards the end of the segment. He recommended that the league do away with the instigator penalty altogether. That its removal would allow the players to go back to playing the game the way it used to be played. Campbell responded that the NHL Competition Committee, consisting of Jarome Iginla, Brendan Shanahan, Rob Blake, Ed Snider, Stu Grimson, and himself as members, certainly understands the concept of fighting in hockey and and intends to discuss the instigator penalty when meetings start up during the offseason. 

Update 930pm: Leafs Lunch has a podcast of the segment available. podcast page | mp3 file (15.6mb) Campbell is on around 19:08. – DS