With the whole Colin Campbell debate still raging about supplemental discipline and the implied conflict of interest, it makes me believe that the things I said 5 years ago remain my opinion today and in fact lead me to believe that it is more important than ever. Colin Campbell is a solid hockey man in an impossible situation. In the position he is in right now as it relates to supplemental discipline, it is not and can never be pure. There is simply too much input, too much politicking, too much coercion from too many different sources involved in almost every case.
When a case is reviewed there are league pressures, marketing pressures, seat sale pressures, team pressures, opposing team pressures, player pressures and everyone at every level has the ability to call Colin and talk to him. They all have their case to make and it is impossible for any human to field all those pressure tactics and consistently come out with the proper ruling and precedent based decision.
So, as I have said before, like arbitration a third party should be the one deciding supplemental discipline in the NHL. That person would be sent all the relevant video evidence along with written perspectives from the two teams involved. No one from the league, the NHLPA or the teams would be allowed to have any contact with the adjudicator unless he or she requests direct contact for the purposes of clarification. Decisions would be based on the exact interpretations of the rule book and precedent.
This would take politics out of the process and remove any hint of bias. One of the important byproducts would also be the NHL being forced to make its rule book and the often talked about but never seen, "situation book" more clear with fewer things open to interpretation. One of the biggest problems in the NHL is that almost every rule and every call are open to interpretation which leads to every call being debated. That continually undermines the NHL's ability to have fans, media, players, coaches and managers believe that the rules of the game are called with consistency.
The NHL employs the best officials in the hockey world yet almost everyone agrees that the biggest problem with the game is officiating. No one seems to know what a foul is on a night to night basis. The ambiguity of the rule book and its application is a huge part of that and the NHL would do itself a favor by dealing with that.
See you at the rink.