Colin Campbell feels unappreciated. He wants a big thank you from the fans, for his tireless etc.
"Thankless job? Yeah, it's thankless," he said. "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 also took issue with anonymous comments from general managers opposing his decisions. "I don't make up this stuff as I go along"
"We do lots of work on this. We send out lots of videos.
Look. Some of us pay to watch hockey. One of the things we require is that all of the f***ing rules are disclosed. Even my seven year-old knows you can't play a game if you don't know the rules. Even my seven year-old knows that the kid who keeps pulling secret rules out of his *** is a cheater or a bully or both.
If you don't know all of the rules, you don't know the rules.
"You think I want to do the popular thing here? I don't get paid to do the popular thing. I don't get paid to do the easy thing to do," he said.
Right, but since you are paid to do this unpopular thing, why are you complaining about it? It's in your job description. Being unpopular, for you, is a tax deduction.
Campbell strongly disagreed that either of the hits Sidney Crosby suffered leading up to his absence with a concussion was worthy of a suspension. "You guys are crazy when you say that," Campbell said. "What do you want to do to the game? You're nuts. There are some hits out there that we don't like, but ... Come on, you guys. You can't say that was dirty, you guys. ... You can't say that hit was dirty or you guys don't watch hockey." Crosby absorbed a blindside hit to the head from then-Washington Capitals forward David Steckel during the Winter Classic outdoor game on Jan. 1. He was then checked into the boards by Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman on Jan. 5 and has not played a game since.
That the Penguins allowed Crosby to continue playing while concussed is bafflingly stupid and, I think, negligent. Everyone knows it's the second concussion on top of the first (not yet healed) one that does the damage. I didn't know anyone pinned that on Campbell though.
There have been a number of questionable hits in this postseason already. "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," Campbell said. "To keep jobs like your jobs, everyone's jobs. The game supplies a lot of jobs."
Interesting. Translation: "I've got a responsibility to try to protect the players if that's possible while not hurting profits." What's the point of saying, "to keep jobs like your jobs" (aside: kind of a threat, really), "the game supplies a lot of jobs" unless to really actually protect the players would COST US JOBS?
Jobs = money.
Frankly, I'm surprised he came right out and said it.
Note that he did not say, "if you make hits to the head illegal, it will make players less willing to hit at all, which will make the game less fun to play and less fun to watch." What he said was, "jobs."
"We would like to try to protect you, if we can do it and not lose money. But if we're going to lose money, sorry, here's your drool cup, dumbass."
(Just to be clear, that's a paraphrase.)
Still, there's something he's not saying. It's the elephant in the room of the head-shot issue. It's...
Fighting is big money for the NHL, or at least they think it is. It draws in a lot of casual fans who don't know any better. And Campbell knows that if head-shots are eliminated, fighting must be eliminated too. Since fighting is, by definition, punching people in the head.
So, when Campbell says "keep the physicality in the game," just know that's what he's talking about.