Colin Campbell claims his hockey operations department is transparent, but fans and media see it differently. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
By Stu Hackel
The NHL went on a big PR offensive yesterday in the “Colie-mail” matter, three days after the story broke. What was their hurry?
First, Gary Bettman went on his weekly radio program (audio) and, sounding like he was at times reading from a prepared text, acknowledged that – from a perception standpoint, no doubt — “it looks bad,” but the reality is different and Colin Campbell has never done anything inappropriate.
Bettman expressed his “full support” for his VP of Hockey Operations, saying those who accuse Campbell of bias “have not had the opportunity to observe Colie’s professionalism and integrity….He takes his service to the game, the teams and the players as seriously as any human being can and he is somebody of the utmost integrity, and that’s the way people around the league view him.”
Regardless of the public’s perception that there might be a conflict of interest or some bias as a result of those e-mails, Bettman said, “There’s no basis to suggest that anything wrong, unfair, biased was ever done, because nothing inappropriate has happened with respect to supplemental discipline or any of his other duties.” He added the clubs — who “would never accept anything less than fair, unbiased treatment” — have expressed unsolicited overwhelming support for Campbell.
Bettman didn’t say unanimous, however.