NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell was a guest on the NHL Live! radio show Thursday, addressing the recent fine of Vancouver's Alex Burrows for comments about NHL referee Stephane Auger officiating of Monday's game between the Nashville Predators and the Canucks. Here is an edited transcript of Campbell's conservation with hosts E.J. Hradek and Deb Placey.
E.J. Hradek: Did Burrows back off a little bit when he talked to you? Because after a game, the guy is worked up, so did he back off on his comments at all?
COLIN CAMPBELL: He didn't back off on what he said, but he did say that the conversation that Stephane did was in French. I asked Alex if Stephane said to him that he was going to get you. Alex Burrows said it was something like that in French because the conversation took place in French, so that's the first step. Our referee, Stephane Auger, said there was no chance that he said or indicated that it was pay back or whatever you want to say. Alex told Stephane that it's not something to address before the game because, as you see now, it could be used against you if the team doesn't like the calls.
We have this kind of banter all the time. I don't think our League, our players or coaches won't have to say you can't talk to referees, but Stephane was just saying to Alex Burrows before the game -- 'Look, from the previous game, where I assessed the major to the Nashville player, it was based on the fact you were injured and the game misconduct was rescinded, but I watched the video and it didn't look like you were injured. And he said to Alex I don't need you to help me in that context, I was calling a penalty. I didn't need you to help me assess a major, but when you went down like that I don't need that kind of help and I don't appreciate you embellishing plays like that in the future and that was the extent of it.
Deb Placey: I'm so pleased you came on because it sounds like it makes a lot of sense that it was a conversation where one side said something that was a phrase or way of talking and the other side may have misinterpreted it?
COLIN CAMPBELL: I understand very little French, but what's said in one language might be, when interpreted in English, might mean something else. Unless you can get a neutral third party to substantiate these things, it can be tough. If you get into a Rangers-Jersey series, a Philly-Pittsburgh series, it gets pretty passionate, there's a lot of money at stake.
Coaches hate coaches, owners dislike owners and fans are against each other. If someone issues a code or something to the effect, 'He said this about me,' do we then throw that other player into an investigation, throw him off his game. You have to be careful and measure everything in these situations. I don't want to throw either individual under the bus to question his integrity and, first and foremost, our referee works for us. He's worked for 10 years (Auger) and we hold him to a high standard. We've watched his work every single night, so it's not something we take lightly.