NHL Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell hopped on The Fan590 on Friday to speak with R.J. Broadhead and John Shannon. Campbell spoke somewhat candidly about a few of the hot topics coming out of the general managers meetings, as well as the 2010 playoffs.
Campbell opened up the conversation with a quick verbal jab at Ron MacLean, saying:
“I wish the guy from CBC would have talked about hockey more than other things the other night, too. But he didn’t want to talk about the hockey game.”
Campbell was referring to Wednesday’s interview with Gary Bettman during the second intermission, which surely you’ve seen or at least read about by now. Not that I’m one to stick up for anything Bettman says or does, but nice to see some solidarity from the executives. Although, I can’t really figure out why Campbell refers to Ron MacLean simply as “the guy from CBC”, considering the two have sat down together on a number of occasions.
The Campbell interview/discussion is worth listening to in its entirety, but I’ll paraphrase a few of the key points that were touched upon. Obviously, the topic of video replay came up, with Campbell acknowledging the potential of increasing the threshold on what is currently reviewable. It’s refreshing given some of the controversial calls made during these playoffs, that the NHL brass is considering the parameters of video replay, but Campbell emphasized that it’s essentially a situational issue. I agree with him 100%. He said that expanding video review for the playoffs is a possibility, but it sounds unlikely that we’ll see a full-scale revamping of what’s reviewable.
On the topic of replays, Campbell was asked about the Wachovia Center’s use of replay on controversial calls on the arena’s “jumbotron” (I really thought they only called them that at the Rogers Centre). Broadhead and Shannon were pretty riled up about it, and Shannon even went as far to say that the Flyers bend every rule there is. I don’t really know about that, but it does kind of undermine the officials’ and the war room’s authority. I’m not sure where I stand on this topic, on one hand I feel that ticket holders have the right to see replays during the game. On the other hand, it more or less makes stopping the game for five minutes for the referee to jump on the phone seem a little bit ridiculous.
Of course, blindside hits and Ken Holland’s shootout suggestions came up, albeit briefly. I won’t bother to rehash the details for you here, but Campbell basically said that the shootout versus overtime debate is a tug of war between hockey traditionalists and marketing/tv/casual fans.
The main event in my opinion, which unfortunately came near the end of the conversation, was the structure of the conferences and the impact it has on the playoffs. Campbell, citing Detroit as an example, mentioned the difficult travel schedule teams face when jumping across 2-3 time zones a couple times a week. The Red Wings played Phoenix and San Jose in the first two rounds of the playoffs, having to adjust to a three hour time difference for each jaunt west, which can take a bigger toll on the body and mind than most realize. It’s an issue that, at least I hope anyway, should require a lot more attention moving forward.
Overall, the NHL’s man with the longest job title in the history of job titles made for a good 13 minutes of listening, although Broadhead had to make the obligatory “Colie” mention as they were signing off. Nobody calls Gary Bettman “Gare-bear” when they talk to him, and you’d never hear the NBA’s commissioner David Stern referred to as “Davey”, so I’m not really sure why the NHL stands by as this old boy’s club thing is perpetuated by everybody talking about Campbell as if he’s hosting a barbecue. Anyway, just had to get that out there.