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Willie Mitchell criticizes Colin Campbell’s ‘relationships’

Willie Mitchell

Vancouver Canucks’ Willie Mitchell celebrates after scoring against the Dallas Stars during third period NHL action in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday Oct. 11, 2009. (AP Photo/THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)


Willie Mitchell finally spoke to the media today after being out of action since January 16 because of concussion issues caused by an Evgeni Malkin hit. The rugged defenseman spoke out against NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell, particularly the effects his “relationships” have on some of his decision making. The Vancouver Province has the story.

“I know Colin Campbell has a lot of relationships with general managers and owners and stuff like that,” Mitchell said. “It’s very tough to hand down decisions on matters like this when you’re friends with people.

“It’s like saying I have to discipline my teammates. It’s too emotional. You can’t always make the right decision.”

“I am disappointed in the league, I’m disappointed in Colin Campbell,” Mitchell said. “I am disappointed he didn’t rule down anything on the play. That’s his job. As we’ve seen, he’s been very inconsistent in how he’s handled himself in those situations. I think a lot of times he hands down suspensions and fines on results.

“I think that’s the wrong thing to do.”

Mitchell is one of the league’s most underrated shutdown defenseman and you have to think that the Canucks missed him (especially in that horrible Game 6). Here’s video of the Mitchell press meeting.

There’s really no doubt that there is at least some form of “double standard” for star players. If it were, say, Matt Cooke instead of Evgeni Malkin who delivered that hit on Mitchell, odds are there would have been a fine or even a suspension.

Regardless, Mitchell’s a great defensive player and seems to be a solid human. Hopefully he’ll be back and healthy next season.

And maybe - just maybe - the league will get its act together when it comes to these hits.