The NHL's judge and jury stands by his decision not to suspend Eric Lindros.
NHL vice president Colin Campbell told the Ottawa Sun on Sunday he debated suspending the Philadelphia Flyers superstar, but after an extensive review, decided Lindros' hit on Ottawa Senators winger Andreas Dackell on Oct. 29 was clean.
"I NHL coverage:
was watching the game on television and it was one that I wrestled with a lot," said Campbell, who was on hand for Sunday's rematch in Philadelphia, which the Senators won 5-4. "I knew I was going to have to look at it as soon as I saw it.
"It was a clean, hard hit. It's unfortunate (Dackell) got hurt the way he did. But I'm not going to suspend a player for hitting a guy too hard. The issue is whether (Lindros) left his feet or not. He did leave his feet but it was after the hit.
"Unfortunately, Lindros hit him hard and Dackell ducked. You can't duck like that in that situation."
Dackell sustained a concussion and needed more than 30 stitches. Lindros did not receive a penalty for the hit.
Campbell, who assumed the post in the league's New York office before the start of the season, said he spoke with Flyers general manager Bob Clarke, coach Roger Neilson, Lindros and Ottawa GM Rick Dudley before making a decision.
The league was already studying the hit when Dudley called Campbell to ask for a review. The Senators provided one replay from a different angle that the league wouldn't have been able to get from television.
Campbell, the former New York Rangers coach, was well aware any decision made was going to be controversial because Lindros was involved.
"We've all witnessed Eric Lindros making big hits and we know the type of impact player he is," Campbell said. "There's always going to be a lot of debate in this job and you'll always be second-guessed for any decision you make."
Asked if there was intent to injure on the hit by Lindros, Campbell replied: "You can't start gettininside guys' heads and start guessing what they were thinking. I can't get into Eric Lindros' head."
© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved