Coyotes avoided fines for Game 5 antics, but got stern lectures from Colin Campbell


According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the Phoenix Coyotes won’t be subjected to any fines for actions following their playoff elimination.

But that doesn’t mean they got off scot-free.

NHL executive vice president Colin Campbell grilled Mike Smith, Shane Doan, Martin Hanzal and Keith Yandle over what they’d done and proceeded to give ’em the business.

Campbell to Smith:

“Tossing your stick at the referee was real disrespectful.”

Campbell to Doan:

“Your comments after the game were not totally correct about the officiating and what you thought.”

Campbell to Hanzal:

“The way you went at the official after the game physically, you didn’t make contact, but that was disrespectful.”

Campbell to Yandle:

“I thought your comment about who was wearing what color was wrong. That’s the integrity of the game and you’re suggesting that because you didn’t have an owner that you have no support? Not a chance.”

Campbell said all four players agreed with his comments and that Doan was the most apologetic.

Campbell was also supposed to meet with Radim Vrbata but, in keeping with the spirit of the playoffs, Vrbata failed to show up. (Zing!)

PHT Extra: Should the NHL admit its big mistakes?


In the latest PHT Extra, Mike Halford and Jason Brough — aka the Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of hockey blogging — delved into the controversial world of NHL officiating.

The first three days of the postseason have been marked by questionable decisions, missed calls and a league-issued apology, all of which begs the question:

Should the NHL admit its big mistakes?

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In closing, we’d like to say we meant no ill will towards against Tony Sericolo, a fine veteran linesman with over 800 games of NHL experience. We also hear he makes a nice pasta fazool.

NHL on Briere offside goal: “We’re as upset as Pittsburgh almost — it’s a mistake”


Prior to yesterday, not many were familiar with the name Tony Sericolo.

Given what’s transpired today, Sericolo probably wishes that was still true.

The veteran NHL linesman — he’s called over 800 games — was called to the carpet on Thursday after NHL senior executive vice-president of hockey operations Colin Campbell admitted Sericolo erred in not whistling Daniel Briere’s first goal offside during Philadelphia’s Game 1 victory over Pittsburgh.

“There’s no other way to explain it but a missed call,” Campbell told The Canadian Press in an interview. “We’re as upset as Pittsburgh almost. It’s a mistake.

“It was a quick turnaround. You can see it was a quick 70-foot pass — the linesman was up with the play and then had to move quickly back and he saw it from the angle he saw it from.

“But still his job is to get the right call and he didn’t.”

Sericolo was one of just 40 officials to be chosen for postseason work from a pool of over 70. According to his NHL Officials page, this was his sixth playoff game.

Campbell’s comments made it unclear if Sericolo would get to work No. 7.

“There’s always fallout,” he said. “The referees and the linesmen are judged on the work they do as far as how they advance in doing games. If mistakes are made, no matter how difficult they are, there’s got to be decisions made on who advances.”

The decision for referee and linesman staffing decisions falls to Terry Gregson, the NHL’s director of officiating. A call placed to Gregson by the Canadian Press wasn’t returned.

Colin Campbell on Rangers-Devils line brawl: “We put the onus on the coach and the player”


Interesting tidbit from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun following last night’s free-for-brawl at Madison Square Garden — he reached out to NHL executive vice-president Colin Campbell for his thoughts on the melee.

Campbell was part of the competition committee that, out of the lockout, put rule 46.22 in place — where a player deemed the instigator of a fight in the final five minutes would receive a one-game suspension (in addition to an instigator minor penalty, a major penalty for fighting, and a game misconduct penalty.)

The rule also states the coach of said offender receives a $10,000 fine.

So with the current CBA expiring in September, it’s fair to suggest the topic of staged/end of game fights could re-appear at the negotiating table. To that end, LeBrun posed a question — would the league and players consider tweaking 46.12 to include the beginning of games as well?

Campbell’s reply, from ESPN:

“What we did with the competition committee coming out of the lockout, we crafted a new rule at the end of the game. We put the onus on the coach and the player.

If the GMs find this (line brawl last night) unacceptable, maybe we’d craft it the same way at the start of the game, put the onus on both the player and the coach? Or you’d have to find a current interpretation of the rulebook.”

LeBrun went on to say that “Anyone who thinks that line brawl had any effect on the final outcome of the game is dreaming,” and, “I can tell you the NHL brass is not keen on it, either.”

To be fair, this lack of keenness could be partly due to how both coaches — Peter DeBoer and John Tortorella — handled the situation. In addition to the whole “you started all your goons, so I’m putting a defenseman at center” routine, the two engaged in a heated war of words that included Tortorella’s profanity-laced tirade.

Not to say the fights would have been more “acceptable” had they existed in a vacuum, but the whole shouting and yelling and histrionics only added to the sideshow feel. Is there any real difference between a coach sending his message at the beginning of the game, rather than the end? Sounds like the competition committee will answer that question this summer.

NHL clamps down on clock malfunctions


Helene Elliott of the L.A. Times reports the NHL will now keep a closer eye on arena clocks — especially in the final minute of a game — after investigating a timing snafu that gifted the Kings a win over Columbus earlier this month.

On Feb. 1, a scoreboard malfunction (the clock stalled with 1.8 seconds left) at the Staples Center allowed the Kings to score the game-winning goal when time should’ve already expired. The incident caused an uproar throughout the league and kickstarted an investigation by Colin Campbell, the NHL’s senior vice president of hockey operations.

Campbell’s findings?

[He] said Thursday that the clock’s maker, Daktronics, had examined the clock and found “no defects.” He also said the off-ice crew working that game had been interviewed and that he was “completely satisfied” with the clock operator, whom he would not identify.

The investigation spurred Campbell to institute clock regulations for all NHL arenas, to prevent a similar error from occurring.

“We have initiated a number of steps to ensure there will be no clock issues in all arenas in the NHL,” Campbell told The Times in an email. “We are observing all ‘last minutes’ of each period to make sure there are no ‘blips’ or ‘pauses’ in the last minute in the video booths upstairs.

“In our new video room in Toronto we now receive live feeds of the overheads so we are not ‘slaved’ to TV waiting to see if they show the overheads.”

Campbell also stated off-ice crews in L.A. will be under a special kind of scrutiny moving forward, saying the NHL will rotate crew members’ duties “to avoid any thoughts there may be issues with the clock when opposing teams play at the Staples Center.”