Can you hear that Hockey fans? That’s the sound of tanks rolling through the National Hockey League. As I type, a tank is leaving Buffalo, NY, and heading on it’s way to Florida and the number one pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Even though there are tanks departing Edmonton, Arizona, Toronto and North Carolina, it seems that the Tim Murray driven tank, will beat everyone to the greatest odds in the draft lottery. The prize of winning the draft lottery you ask? It’s only the kid scheduled to be the next prodigy, the Erie Otters’ Connor McDavid.
But with all these tanks rolling through the NHL, there comes a price. Credibility. During a game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Arizona Coyotes, Sabres fans cheered Coyotes goals, and when Arizona won the game 4-3, Sabres fans cheered again, knowing that that loss, would get them one step closer to winning the McEichel sweepstakes (McEichel being a combination of McDavid, and Jack Eichel of the University of Boston, competing in the NCAA.)
Fans are cheering for their own teams to lose, as it means that their franchises are closer toward winning the number one pick. This isn’t good for anyone. No fan really wants their team to lose. The players definitely don’t want to lose. So why are the fans cheering losses and booing wins?
By losing now, and potentially drafting a prodigy, losing now will lead them to becoming Stanley Cup contenders. This may not be the best look for the National Hockey League, but as it stands, General Managers are allowed to do whatever they please, in terms of transactions. Meaning that, if your goaltender starts to win some games, they can and will be traded for a goaltender that can’t.
But how can Gary Bettman and the NHL stop the tanks from rolling on through? If infact they even want them to stop? Surely nobody likes seeing franchises seemingly wanting to lose, just to get a higher draft pick? They could always handout fines, suspensions, or loss of draft picks/points, but how can you judge that a franchise is tanking and not just terrible? We may be throwing around the word tanking, but that doesn’t mean franchises are. The players are trying to win, The GMs might not be, but the players on the ice are trying to win every game. So, what can you do to stop the tanks from rolling, besides having a man stand in front of them in a shape?
Nothing. Zip. Nada. Not a damn thing.
There isn’t a relegation situation like in the world game, where a team can be demoted to a lower division, losing all the benefits of being in the higher division. Nor is there a rule in place, where franchises lose money off their salary caps, or receive a draft pick penalty, similar to the ten-place grid penalty in Formula One.
You could scramble the draft lottery, allowing for all non-playoff teams to have an equal chance of winning the number one pick. You could allow all 30 franchises to have a chance, but this may lead to the better teams getting better, and the lesser teams getting worse.
Picking when a team is actually tanking is hard for anyone, that includes Gary Bettman. It may look like these teams are tanking, but unless the players on the ice just give up and stop like Ovechkin’s back-check, or the starting goaltender is M.T. Net, then I’m afraid you can’t tell when a team is tanking, even if the tanks are lined up on the Florida border.
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Tank Racer is a PC and Playstation game, copyrighted by Simis, Glass Ghost and Groiler Interactive.