"My concern [about this proposal] would be in punishing an innocent player? says Colin Campbell, the league's chief disciplinarian. While several general managers were intrigued by the concept, others feared it would be too difficult to enforce. "How bad does the hit have to be to give the team the choice?" asked a G.M. "And who makes that decision?"
The subjectivity would be no greater than it already is in Campbell's disciplinary decisions, which he makes on a case-by-case basis. Campbell's concern about the proposed system is understandable, but the provision would be rooted in an ethos central to team sports: mat the players' responsibility is to the club, and that the team wins or loses as a group.
The proposed rule would lead coaches and star players to warn reckless teammates against duty play and would work as a deterrent to the marginal players who commit so many of the worst infractions. A tough system such as this may be the NHL's best hope for keeping its most damaging incidents to a minimum.
Devils' Draft Prowess
Well-Armed And Dangerous
The most intimidating sight at the draft each year is Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello poring over his notes while flanked by director of scouting David Conte and Conte's assistant, Claude Carrier. The trio has formed New Jersey's brain trust since the late 1980s, during which time the Devils have proved to be the best drafters in hockey. Perennial Stanley Cup contender New Jersey was particularly aggressive last Saturday when—thanks to deals made over the weekend-it owned six picks in the first three rounds, more than any other team.
The Devils' selections included first-rounder Adrian Foster, a highly skilled, 6-foot, 190-pound forward from Lethbridge, Alberta, who missed most of the past three seasons because of groin injuries. However, as a 16-year-old in juniors in 1998-99, he had 32 points in 18 games. "With the number of picks we had," says Lamoriello, "we could take a chance on a guy with his upside."