December 3, 2010

Hypocrisy of NHL on Full Display with Latest Non-Suspension to Glencross

The NHL has to learn from its mistakes one of these days... at least you have to hope. But, until that day comes, we should enjoy the ride that is the Colin Campbell experience.

Calgary Flame Curtis Glencross got nailed with a fine on Friday, two days after he delivered a cross-check to the face of Vancouver Canuck Keith Ballard. In all honesty, it was pretty tame stuff, but when one looks back to how Glencross’s teammate Olli Jokinen got hit with a three-game ban for a similar infraction on Phoenix Coyote Wojtek Wolski, just a few short weeks ago, one wonders just what is going on in Campbell’s head.

With all the rumours and vicious innuendo being spouted online and in the mainstream media about him recently, one would think that Campbell would be extra vigilant in his decisions so as to escape any unwanted second-guessing. But it would seem that Campbell is not one to back down from his apparently God-given right to make weird-ass decisions. As such, it’s easy to imagine that he made this latest one out of sheer principle as if to say “no blogger, no scandal, no fake artist on earth can influence how I do my job”, which is actually kind of a noble thought... that is if his uninfluenced decisions weren’t so laughably nonsensical.

I’ve written before that the league’s decision to suspend Jokinen, who was a first-time offender, three games was somewhat of an odd choice, but I tried to rationalize it. But there’s little way to rationalize this latest incident... maybe because Jokinen was the third man in an altercation between Wolski and Niklas Hagman and Glencross was just exercising his right to smash in the face of a guy who was directly in his? That right there means a difference of three games? So, by that logic, if I got into a barfight and then did my opponent the decency of stabbing him in the front rather than from his side, I’d be able to buy my way out of trouble? Good to know... if only Campbell was my local police commissioner anyway.

What’s most puzzling is that Glencross is not a first-time offender. In fact, and this is where it gets good, he got suspended for a blind-side hit to the head of New York Ranger Chris Drury once upon a time. When was that time? Oh, in November of last year when he felt the overwhelming need to use his shoulder as a battering ram on an unsuspecting Drury’s head, an act that resulted in a three-game ban in its own right.

Think about that for a second... Glencross blind-sided Drury, with a shoulder to the head and got suspended, before the Marc Savard-Matt Cooke incident, before the rule came into effect, before Campbell told everyone how much he wanted to suspend Cooke, but couldn’t for lack of a rule in the rulebook. Huh???

Is it just me or is Campbell really not making life easy on himself? I don’t know if he’s just naturally confrontational and likes being the object of everyone’s attention, but this is getting ridiculous. Obviously, he didn’t mean for it to become public knowledge that he’s a potty mouth and takes an arguably unhealthy interest in plays involving his son, but, in this instance, he could have done the easy and the right thing and given Glencross three games, prevented himself any scrutiny, and put all this behind him. Instead Glencross gets nothing, people are forced into comparing Jokinen and Glencross’s suspension histories, and, bada-bing, bada-boom, yet another inconsistency in the way Campbell and the NHL do business is discovered.

I’m not going to get into the implications that the NHL really could have suspended Cooke if Campbell really wanted to and just didn’t because he has it out for Savard, not just because saying it in passing is just as good and takes up less space, but also because it’s been said to death before. There’s no point kicking a dead horse. Thankfully, Campbell is still very much kicking himself, meaning he, and the NHL in turn, will continue to be the gift that keeps on giving. Just in time for Christmas, no less.

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