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Backpedal defense

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  November 19, 2010 07:09 AM

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From "little fake artist" to "tough, durable player."  Quite the week for Marc Savard.

NHL disciplinarian czar Colin Campbell, who was roundly criticized earlier this week by everyone not employed by the NHL for leaked emails that were highly critical of the Boston forward, responded to the backlash at length in an NHL.com ode entitled, "Why Colie is so awesome." Or something akin to that.

As for whether his bias toward Savard impacted his decision not to punish Matt Cooke:

"That's the most ridiculous statement, or one of the more ridiculous statements I'm hearing in this whole affair," said Campbell, who coached Savard with the Rangers in the late 1990s. "I had Marc when he first broke into the League. I was coaching the Rangers and I liked Marc. Marc was a talented player. I knew Marc could embellish and Marc embellished well. I was surprised how well he did embellish. When you're the coach of a player who knows how to embellish you call it 'drawing penalties.' When you're a coach against a player you call it diving or a fake artist, whatever you want to call it.

"For anyone, anyone in the game to think (three) years later a comment like that (in an e-mail) would be attached to an incident involving Cooke and Savard, they're crazy," Campbell continued. "It would have been easy to suspend Cooke if I could attach something wrong he did other than he had done wrong things before. We had to find something wrong in that act and we couldn't. For someone to say that I didn't want to suspend Cooke because Marc Savard might be faking, there's no way I thought Marc Savard was faking. One thing about Marc Savard is he was a tough, durable player. He wasn't someone who would fake an injury. There is a big difference between diving to try to draw a penalty and faking an injury."

Oh. OK, so no harm, no foul. Brilliant job, Gary.

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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