Colin Campbell understands what Brendan Shanahan is going through.
The former league disciplinarian said that Shanahan isn’t going to be a popular man throughout several NHL cities with the amount of potentially dangerous hits that have occurred in this season’s playoffs.
“I told Brendan going into the playoffs that it’s different than the season," Campbell said to Bob McCown and Damien Cox on Prime Time Sports on Wednesday evening. “During the season, you deal with managers and they’re upset with decisions but you come to the playoffs and you got whole cities that dislike you.
“It’s a very difficult job and lots of people have lots of comments on it. There isn’t an answer and you just do what you can do and you do your best."
Open Season: Head shots, dirty hits and suspensions have dominated the news in the first round of NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Join a special edition of HOCKEY CENTRAL for a discussion with our panel of experts as well as fan and player reaction. Watch and chat live on sportsnet.ca and Sportsnet, Thursday night at 11 p.m. local time. The half-hour show will feature a live chat on sportsnet.ca with HOCKEY CENTRAL analyst and Stanley Cup champion Brad May. The former NHL player will interact with fans and viewers over the biggest issues this post-season.
Campbell is alarmed with the amount of headshots happening throughout the playoffs thus far and believes the NHL is doing its best to get the problems straightened out.
“We’re alarmed," he said. "We want perfect games officiated. We’re on every play, every call. We want it to be done right. We hope to deal with it and deal with it in right way. You do what you have to do.
"That’s what we’re dealing with now. We’ve been pretty lucky over the last eight-to-10 years and we got to get this straightened out.”
With his experience as the league’s disciplinarian, Campbell said assigning big suspensions won’t solve the excessive violence problems in the NHL and it did not work for him during his tenure.
“”We’ve done that," he said. "I did it to (Steve) Downie and (Chris) Simon twice, it didn’t stop anything."
While many in the media have been critical of Gary Bettman for not taking a stand, Campbell explained that it would be a conflict of interest if the NHL commissioner had a role in determining the suspensions.
“Gary’s not silent,” Campbell explained. “He publicly hasn’t come out there but he’s very active on what’s going on and what he should go. (Bettman) can’t get involved with the suspensions himself because he hears the appeal.”