Colin Campbell, vice-president of the NHL, showed off his defensiveness that a lot of Canuck fans would like to when asked if they think the Canucks game four meltdown was a sign of things to come, when he was discussing criticism leveled towards him over recent suspensions or lack-of suspensions during the NHL playoffs.
During a radio interview on TSN Radio 1050, Campbell was justifying his decision not to give Canucks’ forward Raffi Torres a suspension for his behind the net hit on Blackhawks’ Brent Seabrook, who won’t be playing in game five, during game three of the first round series.
Campbell said that his is a “thankless” job and that “especially at this time of year when there’s so much at play here with the playoffs and cities are involved. When you rule on certain situations, all of a sudden you become public enemy No. 1 so … Am I pissed off right now? Yeah, I’m pissed off.”
Campbell might feel pissed off but he shouldn’t let his emotions show in a public forum like TSN Radio 1050. This is the job he signed on for. Everyone who follows the NHL, be it fans, players, coaches, or general managers are either going to agree or disagree with his rulings. No matter who the subject matter is or the hit they do or don’t get suspended for there will be one side that vehemently agrees and one side that flat-out disagrees with his punishment. Unless it’s in regards to Matt Cooke in which everyone can agree his suspensions are never long enough.
Campbell just has to go out and do his job and not worry about what anyone else thinks. He’s the one who’s got final say and that’s all that matters. His responsibility is to the players and nobody else. He even said so: “I’ve got a responsibility to try and protect players from other players in the game of hockey but yet keep the physicality in the game. To keep jobs like your jobs, everyone’s jobs. The game supplies a lot of jobs.”
He singled out criticism he’s been receiving for the Torres hit that didn’t result in a suspension as well: “That’s what’s thankless about this job. You try to do the right thing, you try to keep physicality in the game and you guys think that I enjoy hearing everybody saying Torres should have been suspended. Well that would have been the easy thing to do. If they want to go forward and say that type of hit or all head hits should be suspended, maybe this job will be easier, but I don’t think so.”
He’s right when he says that suspending Torres would have been the easy thing to do because everyone was calling for it. But being the man in charge of suspensions as the vice-president of the NHL means making the tough calls. No matter how right they are or how wrong people think they are. Campbell needs to focus on doing the right thing and not worry about getting some thanks for doing a “thankless” job.