April 15, 2009

The house wins

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

What’s the point of even holding a lottery when there’s hardly a chance that anyone other than the worst team will win? Where’s the intrigue in the NHL draft lottery? Last night, there was about a 49% that the Islanders would land the first pick in this summer’s draft. That’s like rooting for the house at the casino. You don’t want to see the heavy favourite walk away with a win, you want the long-shot underdog to triumph. But that’s the biggest thing that’s wrong with the NHL, it can’t happen.

You’ll never see a long shot win the lottery and get the first pick in the draft — like the Chicago Bulls did last year — because you can only move up a lousy four spots. What drama would there possibly be if the 12th ranked team moved up to eight? Would anybody care? In a North American sports market that’s filled everyday with sensational stories, why is the NHL — the league in the most need of attention — playing it safe?

A lottery should bring about all the emotion that the name bares with it, not just a chance of a slight move.

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