Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Devils win draft lottery and pick 4th, Isles go to 5th

I wasn't around last night to watch the draft lottery, which had about thirty seconds of suspense once the top five started being revealed and the Isles were at #5 instead of the #4 spot they were slated to pick in. Instantly, that meant that one of four teams (#5 Ottawa, #6 Atlanta, #7 Columbus or #8 New Jersey) could move up and moments later Bill Daly opened the #4 envelope to reveal a Devils logo and putting two Battle teams in the top five. Not only did moving up four spots in the draft represent our first bit of good luck off-ice in quite some time but also showed that perhaps good karma does exist after all.

Too often in sports, teams do get rewarded for tanking - including at least one team in our division who shall remain nameless (cough Mario cough) - but in this case the Devils got rewarded for playing the game the right way in the second half and not tanking, even the last game of the season when losing would have meant going from 8th to 6th and having a theoretically better chance of winning the lottery and moving up to #2. As a result of the Devils winning the lottery, the top three remained intact and the Oilers will pick first overall for the second straight year.

Would I have liked it if winning the lottery actually meant getting the first overall pick? Sure, but those are the rules in place and they have been in place for years. Funny thing is since our team's never anywhere near the lottery I had no idea how it worked before - that one team got picked and a team outside the top five could win the lottery but only move up four spots. So long as the NHL doesn't change their rules mid-stream to screw us again I'm fine with it. At least we don't have to give up our first-round pick this year, which would have been an utter disaster.

With this season having gone the way it had, I was half expecting Atlanta to win the lottery, not only bumping us to ninth but also given the fact they were sixth after losing their final game, and we went from sixth to eighth winning the final game. I could have easily pictured that win costing us six spots. Instead we got rewarded for winning in an odd way, although don't tell that to the four teams - the Isles, Ottawa, Atlanta and Columbus - who moved down a spot because of our win. Ironically there was more suspense involved in me checking my phone for the draft order after getting out of the movie I went to, since the NHL Gamecenter app wouldn't load for the longest time. When I finally did, I saw the draft order and was like holy **** when I saw the Devils were fourth.

Perhaps though it's fitting we finally had a bit of good luck the minute the '10-11 season ended and '11-12 began for us and the thirteen other teams not in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which start tonight.

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