By now, I'm sure you've heard about that little mishap that NHL disciplinary guru found himself in when blogger Tyler Dellow found some public record emails about an incident back in 2007. If you haven't, well, just check around the hockey blogosphere and you'll see everything from reaction to the original findings to Colin Campbell's public rebuttal.
Well now, that's all fine and dandy, but what the paying public isn't seeing are Colin Campbell's private emails to former referee Dean Warren, "little fake artist" Marc Savard, and his own boss Gary Bettman. Fortunately, FTR is connected to the mighty and powerful, and after pulling a few favors, we managed to get copies of Colie's apology letters. You gotta hand it to the guy, he's a smooth one.
First up, let's see his email to Dean Warren.
Dear Dean Warren,
As you may or may not have heard, some emails leaked out from some private exchanges between me and Stephen Walkom -- you know, Steve-O Wal. You know how sometimes email can't convey the tone of the conversation? Yeah, that's kind of what happened here. See, if you read these silently, you might think I'm bashing you, but it's really just friendly joshing. Let me break down my first email for you.
"Are you trying to f*** with my head?"
F***ing with someone's head can mean many things. Did you ever see The Sixth Sense? When I found out Bruce Willis was actually a ghost and the kid was using his psychic powers to talk to him, that totally f***ed with my head, and I mean that in a totally positive way. When I went to see Bon Jovi last year and they started out with quiet piano that turned into the opening keyboards of Bad Medicine, that f***ed with my head -- because I wasn't sure what was going on, but I knew it was awesome. So, remember, context.
"Have you talked to him yet and have you seen the penalty he called on [player]? Should I call him?"
Hey, man, I wasn't going to call you to rag on you. I was going to call and just check in, say hello, how's the Mrs. doing, that sort of thing. Sometimes, you notice something and you think, dang, I haven't talked with that old chap in a while, how's he doing? I should give him a jingle. I know when you read this straightforward-like, it sounds mean, but really, it's just a reminder to check in, maybe send you a Christmas card. By the way, did you get ours last year? What do you think of our new kitten with her little white boots and patchy grey fur, isn't Buttons just the perfect name for her?
"Talk to [another referee] he will tell you the horsesh*t game Warren had and how hard it was to work with him."
Again, sarcasm. You know how sometimes someone just performs their job so darn well that you just have to say something that's obviously the opposite of it? Like "Man, I can't believe Alex Ovechkin had another horsesh*t game" or "Seriously, man, that Bon Jovi concert was total horsesh*t." You say those things because you know it can't be true. As for that second part, well, we both know how difficult it can be when someone sets a high standard and you have to live up to it. It's just freakin' hard to work with.
"This guy is in serious trouble. He will be in trouble as soon as [coach or general manager] sees him tonight…they will think you are shoving it up their ass."
Dude. Every coach and GM thinks you're shoving it up their ass. I think if a coach or GM DOESN'T accuse you of shoving it up their ass, then there's a problem. Even when I look at my own rulings, I tell myself to shove it up my ass. Consider it a term of endearment.
"Maybe you should call [general manager] as a pre-emptive strike but talk to Warren first."
Dean, you know you're my boy. Just wanted to give you first dibs, like calling dibs on shotgun when we drive to the Shoe Museum in Toronto together.
Anyways, I figured you might hear some of the press, and I know we're cool and all, but I thought I'd explain a little what was going on. Just in case, you know?
No hard feelings,
P.S. I hope I didn't spoil the ending to The Sixth Sense for you. It's still a good movie if you haven't seen it.
Well, now that we know Colie's true intentions, that doesn't seem too bad. Let's see what he said to the guy he accused of being a "fake artist", Boston Bruins center Marc Savard.
Dear Marc Savard,
It's been a while, hasn't it? I mean, I'm not counting that whole Matt Cooke thing from a while ago since you weren't around to be in on the conference call (by the way, how's the noggin treating you?) but I was just thinking back to the good old days when we were in New York together. Those were some good times, huh? I know you were just a pup back then, and I might have razzed you a little hard, but it was all in good fun, right? I mean, we totally had some laughs. Remember back in training camp 1997 when we had a team bonding session to go see a matinee of Air Force One and I did my Harrison Ford impression by yelling "Get off my plane"? Yeah, that was fun.
Anyways, I hear you've carved out quite the career for yourself and I like to think that maybe I had part of shaping who you are and what you've become. Remember how I used to call you The Artist back in those days? No? Well, I didn't like to use too many nicknames during camp since I didn't want people to think I gave you special treatment, but I actually referred to you as The Artist around the rest of the coaching staff because you were so creative with the puck. Then one of them told me that Prince was now known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, or simply The Artist. I don't know about you, but no one compares with the guy who wrote When Doves Cry, so I had to change your nickname. You weren't the real Artist, you were now known as The Fake Artist.
In any case, I was just came across some of my old Rangers memorabilia and I thought of you. I don't know if I ever told you in person why I called you The Fake Artist, but that's why we did. I think maybe word of that might have slipped out, so if you come across anything lately that uses that old nickname, well, I hope you remember good times in New York.
See? Campbell wasn't being a jerk, he was just using an old nickname, kind of like when Lando Calrissian greeted Han Solo by calling him an old pirate. (Yes, that's two Harrison Ford references in one blog post.)
Ok, now let's see how Campbell handled things with his higher ups. Here's his email to Gary Bettman.
How's your day going? Busy day today, what with all the All-Star balloting going on. By the way, I thought you should know that I heard there's a glitch in the Facebook All-Star voting system. I think you should check it out immediately after you read this email. It might take all day, it's pretty bad, but don't worry, I can cover for you.
Oh, off topic, I have some connection in New York in case you want to go see Lady Gaga. I hear she's a nice gal and puts on a good show. How about I drop by at lunch time to see if you want the tickets? I'll grab one of those sandwiches from downstairs that you like. Turkey with horseradish on rye, right? And some fresh fruit and barbecue chips? Well, if you want to change your order, you got my cell. Coke, Pepsi, or Orangina? Maybe I'll just bring all three and let you pick. Bill and I can split the leftovers. Oh, and have you ever been to Coldstone for some ice cream? They put Snickers and Oreos in it, and let me tell you, it is sooooooo awesome. I think I'll bring some for you to try.
By the way, did you happen to lose your iPod? I just found one the other day and it's not mine and I thought, "Gee, this must be Gary's. I'll give it back to him." Don't worry about putting it in the lost and found in case it's not yours, I think you can keep it -- you've earned.
Anyhoo, I'll see you at lunchtime. Remember, call me if you want to change that sandwich order. And definitely look into that whole Facebook All-Star voting thing. It's super urgent, and remember, I can cover for you. No biggie.
Your loyal friend,
P.S. Hey, you remember how you showed me how to clear the cache on your internet browser that one time? My, uh, computer is running slow and I think I should probably delete my entire online history. You know, clean it up. I think my emails too, I must have a bazillion old messages in there. Maybe you can show me again at lunch. You know me, I'm a clutz with technology!
Boy, that Colie, what a pal. Lunch and Coldstone and an iPod and even Lady Gaga tickets! He sure knows how to treat his boss. By the way, how's that Facebook All-Star voting process going on?