What Colin Campbell should say tonight on NHL Overtime

Tonight at 11:00 pm, embattled NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell will make a phone appearance on Versus’ new program NHL Overtime to discuss, we hope, what’s come out lately about him disparaging Marc Savard and being overtly critical of NHL officials regarding their treatment of his son, Bruins forward Gregory Campbell, during games.

We’re assuming that Campbell will be talking about these subjects and not about the handful of suspensions handed down today to Mattias Ritola and Olli Jokinen. With Campbell going under the microscope thanks to Tyler Dellow putting the pieces together to figure out that Campbell is potentially using his position to influence, he’s got a huge opportunity to do the right thing after all this. While we’ve already heard a little bit from Campbell regarding this whole thing, choosing to talk about one incident and chalking it up to being too much of a hockey dad, he can start to make things right in a different way. He can start by being honest.

If Campbell opens things up tonight discussing with Bill Patrick, Billy Jaffe, and Aaron Ward doing what we’ve heard from other’s in the NHL media by discussing his history in the game and having the respect of his peers, he’ll immediately be losing us. Colin Campbell the man has never been the problem through this entire escapade. I’m sure that Colin Campbell is a great guy, a good friend, and a loyal compatriot to have in any situation. If you look at his e-mails to Stephen Walkom and Mike Murphy in a certain point of view, that aspect of him is very evident. But that’s not the problem here. The problem here surrounds Colin Campbell the league executive.

What’s gotten lost in the discussion about this whole situation is how Campbell seemingly abused his role in an authority position to to get breaks for his son. That’s the part that’s got most people discussing this in an uproar. It’s not about how good of a guy Colin Campbell is off the ice and how a good guy doesn’t deserve to get treated harshly because of that. That’s about as far from the point as anything can get. Sometimes good people make mistakes. Sometimes good people can get carried away if they’re left unchecked in a position of power.

That’s why Colin Campbell has to show the rest of us that haven’t been in the locker room with him as a player, or worked with him in the media while he was a coach or as the NHL disciplinarian what makes him as good a guy as we’ve read or heard about the last few days. A good guy, a guy that won’t allow pride to get in his way, would own up to making a mistake. That’s what he’s done here, he’s made mistakes. We’re human, they happen and sometimes when family gets involved emotions get the best of us and our “ugly” side can come out. They just don’t usually come out in e-mail or make it appear that your potential conflict of interest is more than just a possibility.

So Colin, for the rest of us so we can go back about our business and talking about what a great game hockey is, fess up. Own what’s happened. Don’t try to give us a PR-friendly answer. Honesty is hard and it can sometimes seem like it’ll be the thing that stings you the most, but if he can go on NHL Overtime tonight and say this:

“I’m really sorry for what I’ve said about Marc Savard and I am incredibly sorry for letting the love of my son get the best of me and potentially interfering in my focus on the job at hand. I’ve learned from all this that doing the right thing for my family and doing the right thing for my job can sometimes get in the way of each other and it won’t happen again.”

I’m willing to bet that we’ll be able to see what others are talking about when they tell us about what a stand-up guy Colin Campbell is. Giving us a prepared statement that tip-toes around and doesn’t directly address everything that’s been questioned will just be damage control and appear to be dishonest. The fans aren’t the fools we’re sometimes mistaken for, treating us as such will only let fans continue to feel like aren’t capable of handling the truth. Trust us here Colin, we can handle the truth.

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    Sabres agree with Dylan Cozens on 7-year, $49.7M extension

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    BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres agreed to terms with forward Dylan Cozens on a seven-year extension worth $49.7 million.

    The team announced the contract. Cozens will count $7.1 million against the salary cap through the 2029-30 season.

    Cozens, who turns 22, is the latest core player the Sabres have extended over the past six months. Buffalo signed All-Star forward Tage Thompson for $50 million over seven seasons in August and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson to a seven-year, $30 million deal in October.

    Rasmus Dahlin, the top pick in 2020 who’s a Norris Trophy candidate and filled in for Thompson at NHL All-Star weekend, figures to be next for a big contract. He’s signed through next season and can begin talking about an extension this summer.

    Cozens, who was set to be a restricted free agent, has already set career highs with 17 goals, 26 assists and 43 points – with 30 games left in the season. The seventh pick in 2019, Cozens has 34 goals and 60 assists in 169 regular-season NHL games, all with Buffalo.

    The Sabres, led by Dahlin, Thompson, Cozens and 2021 No. 1 pick Owen Power, are contending to make the playoffs. The organization’s 11-year playoff drought dating to 2011 is by far the longest in the league.

    Stanley Cup champion Avalanche steadily returning to health

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    ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Had his coach been watching, this might have made for an anxious moment: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar catching an edge and falling in the fastest skater contest.

    Jared Bednar wasn’t tuned in, though, and had no idea what happened in the skills contest over All-Star weekend. Only that Makar emerged from his crash into the boards just fine.

    These days, things are definitely looking up for the Stanley Cup champions on the injury front. Defenseman Bowen Byram returns to the lineup, along with forward Valeri Nichushkin. Defenseman Josh Manson is creeping closer to a return. Same for captain Gabriel Landeskog, who’s yet to play this season. Forward Darren Helm is progressing, too.

    In spite of all their bumps and bruises, the Avalanche entered the All-Star break in a playoff spot. To weather the injury storm, Colorado has relied on 39 different skaters this season, a mark that’s tied for the most in a single season since the team relocated to Denver in 1995.

    “Anybody we can get back right now is huge,” said Makar, whose team kicks off a three-game trip Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

    Byram returns after being sidelined with a lower-body injury since early November. He was an integral part of their Stanley Cup run a season ago, when he led all rookies with nine assists in the postseason. Byram was off to a fast start this season – two goals and three assists in 10 games – before his injury.

    “He’s looking great. He’s buzzing out there,” Makar said of his fellow blue liner. “Hopefully it doesn’t take him too long to get back into game mode. But I think he’s a guy that can turn it on pretty quickly.”

    Byram missed a chunk of games last season as he dealt with concussion symptoms. This time, he was able to be around the team as he worked his way back.

    “I was just happy it wasn’t my head,” Byram said. “It was a lot easier to be out when you’re still feeling good and feel like yourself. … I’m just excited to get going again.”

    Count on Byram for as many minutes as necessary, too.

    “I’m 100%, so no reason to ease into it,” Byram said. “I’m confident with jumping back in.”

    Manson will join the Avalanche on the trip so he can skate with the squad. He’s been out with a lower-body injury since the start of December.

    “I do think it helps to get on the road, be around the guys,” Bednar said.

    Landeskog could be back “fairly soon,” Bednar said, but didn’t have a definitive timeline quite yet. The longtime Avalanche captain has been sidelined since knee surgery in October.

    The Avalanche entered the All-Star break on quite a roll, winning seven of their last eight. They’ve amassed 57 points, which trails Dallas (66 points at the All-Star break), Winnipeg (65) and Minnesota (58) in the Central Division.

    One thing the Avalanche are guarding against is another slow start out off the break. It happened over Christmas when the team had a few days off and promptly went 0-4-1 upon their return.

    “It’s just shifting the mentality back to game mode. No more vacation,” Makar said. “We still have a long way to go. We’re not where we want to be right now. But there’s a lot of time left.”

    Kraken add some size, acquire Jaycob Megna from San Jose

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    SEATTLE — The Seattle Kraken acquired defenseman Jaycob Megna from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2023 fourth-round draft pick.

    Megna is in the midst of his best season with 12 points in 48 games for the Sharks while averaging more than 19 minutes per game.

    “Jaycob has shown with his play this season that he is a responsible defenseman that can be relied on in all situations,” Seattle general manager Ron Francis said. “He provides welcome depth to our defensive group and we are happy to have him join our organization.”

    The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Megna will add some size and bulk to Seattle’s lineup. Megna ranked fifth for San Jose in both blocked shots and hits.

    Megna previously played for Anaheim for parts of three seasons between 2016-19. The 48 games played this season is a career-high for the 30-year-old.

    Seattle is tied for the lead in the Pacific Division and will return from the All-Star break beginning against the New York Islanders.

    Islanders sign Bo Horvat to 8-year deal after trading for him

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    The New York Islanders signed center Bo Horvat to an eight-year contract less than a week after acquiring him in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks.

    The team announced the contract after their first practice following the All-Star break. Horvat’s deal is worth $68 million and carries a $8.5 million salary cap hit through the 2030-31 season.

    General manager Lou Lamoriello joked to reporters at practice on Long Island that Horvat’s contract was “too long and it’s too much money.”

    The Islanders sent forward Anthony Beauvillier, prospect Aatu Raty and a protected first-round pick to the Canucks for Horvat . He was set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and the trade was a result of Vancouver and Horvat’s camp being unable to reach a deal last summer.

    Lamoriello and Horvat expressed confidence about getting a deal done after the trade. The 27-year-old has scored more than 30 goals for a second consecutive season.

    Horvat was chosen as an All-Star and played for the Pacific Division despite the trade. He played with longtime Canucks teammate Elias Pettersson and combined on one last goal together before parting ways.

    “I want to get going,” Horvat said after the All-Star 3-on-3 tournament. “That’s enough. Let’s start playing some games and getting to know the guys. I just want to start playing hockey again.”

    Horvat was on vacation with his family in Orlando when he was traded. He said coach Lane Lambert wanted him to enjoy All-Star festivities before getting rolling with the Islanders, who play at the Philadelphia Flyers.

    “Obviously getting my legs under me is going to be No. 1 and getting systems down and obviously chemistry with the new linemates and stuff like that,” Horvat said.

    After facing the Flyers and Seattle, Horvat will play against his former team when Vancouver visits UBS Arena.