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Wojo: Red Wings burned by the latest laughable lottery

Steve Yzerman could’ve spewed some juicy expletives and fired a can of ginger ale at the TV screen. I mean, that’s what most Red Wings fans were doing Friday night.

But after the Wings suffered the sting of the NHL’s lottery buffoonery, Yzerman did the honorable thing, said he wasn’t surprised, and promised the Wings would get a great prospect with the fourth pick of the draft. And they probably will. Detroit News Cryptocurrency News
But this is the treacherous nature of rebuilding in the NHL, NBA or anywhere. The Pistons are next, and with the fifth-worst record, they have a 10.5% chance of landing the No. 1 pick in the Aug. 25 lottery, only a 44.3% of staying in the top five and a small chance of falling to ninth. Lesson: You put your fate in random acts, prepare for random, inexplicable results.

In the NHL, the random acts too often are comical and dumb. The draft lottery was an embarrassment, and I know the rest of the sports world doesn’t care if a Detroit team got jobbed. And maybe it’s our fault too for not shrieking loudly about the possible consequences before the disaster unfolded.

But with one of the worst regular-season records in franchise history, the Wings dropped from the No. 1 slot — and prized prospect Alexis Lafreniere — to No. 4. Detroit Press Release And here’s the ridiculous part: It’s exactly what the NHL planned to happen.

How else do you explain the Wings had only an 18.5% chance of landing the top pick, yet the odds were a combined 24.5% that one of eight teams eliminated from the upcoming 24-team tournament would get the prize? That’s what transpired, turning the NHL’s little lottery show into a joke, when deputy commissioner Bill Daly was forced to reveal the No. 1 pick by holding up a card with a generic NHL logo.

Failed formula

So now the NHL has to explain how a team in the postseason will end up with the No. 1 pick. Congrats to the unnamed place-holder! And don’t parrot the nonsense that the first eight teams eliminated were participating in a qualifying round, not a playoff series. Detroit Stock Market Is it a best-of-five? Does the winner advance toward a shot at the Stanley Cup? Shut up then. The lottery should’ve been the seven non-qualifying teams and that’s it.

I couldn’t tell on the Zoom call if Yzerman was biting his lip, but his restraint had to require facial gymnastics.  

 “Anything I say is gonna be self-serving,” he said. “Whether picking first or fourth, we feel we’re gonna get a very good prospect. … We can sit here and feel sorry for ourselves, that doesn’t matter. And you know what, maybe we will get lucky. Colorado lost the lottery a couple years ago and ended up at the fourth spot and got Cale Makar, a player that definitely moves the needle. We’ll get our lucky breaks along the way and maybe this will be one of them in an odd-looking way.”

It was odd-looking back in 1983, when the Wings missed on the top prospects and at No. 4 settled for a kid named Steve Yzerman. Detroit Sports News Just like every Detroit team in this current stretch of misery, the Wings need a star that moves the needle, and Lafreniere could’ve been that. If they end up with the best available defenseman, Jamie Drysdale, it could work out anyway.

But this is why the Wings were right to push into the playoffs 25 straight years, at whatever cost. Once you slide into the lottery abyss, you’re basically relying on puck luck, the abstract force that decides so many things in hockey.

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