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THN.com Blog: Make draft lottery an event

The NHL should give every playoff team a chance to win the first overall draft pick by having their ball selected live on TV. (Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images for NHLI)

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The NHL should give every playoff team a chance to win the first overall draft pick by having their ball selected live on TV. (Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images for NHLI)

News the NHL will televise its draft lottery this year was a grand step in the right direction, but a little more positive push could make this event an attractive, annual celebration.

Instead of limiting the amount of spots a team can move up in the draft to four (and down only one), make it like the NBA lottery, where any team that misses the playoffs has a shot at the No. 1 pick.

That’s how the Orlando Magic landed Shaq first overall after being the second-worst team one year, then Chris Webber first overall the year after, even though they improved by 20 wins and barely missed the post-season.

And remember the Sidney Crosby draft when everyone had a shot? Remember that fanfare and buzz? Sure a lot had to do with the prize involved, but don’t discount the fact anyone could have won that selection.

It’s got that fantasy pool feeling to it.

I want that back.

Obviously it would still be weighted, with the last-place team a heavy favorite, but the anticipation and “what-ifs” would be thrilling for all teams involved.

Just think: After finishing the boring process of picking ping-pong ball combinations in a back room to determine the order, have a member of the league’s brass – or heck, a hockey enthusiast like actress Alyssa Milano - announce the list from 14 down to one.

And make a huge production out of it. Bring the GMs involved into the studio, making it as insightful and interesting as possible. Milk it for all it’s worth and get the reactions of these guys as their teams get picked off.

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What if Brian Burke won the Steven Stamkos sweepstakes with Kevin Lowe’s pick? Just imagine the fist-pump that would take place.

Think Ivan Drago, circa Rocky 4.
 
The ball has started to roll, but if the league would just take this concept another step, not only would it put to rest the “tanking it” conspiracy that has shamefully crept into our psyche, but it would make for one heck of a half hour of on-the-edge-of-your-seat entertainment for fan bases left without the playoff rush.

INSULT TO INJURY?
The Torrey Mitchell hit on Kurtis Foster – that broke the defenseman’s femur - didn’t cross any lines in my book.

But perhaps this comment by Foster’s fiancé, Stephanie Bosch, did when she was explaining to the St. Paul Pioneer Press what was going through her mind while she was watching the play.

“I thought he was faking it. I thought he was trying to draw a penalty. He has scared me like that before.”

I think I wince for everyone when I squint with a “yeesh.”

Rory Boylen is THN.com's web content specialist. His blog appears Thursdays.

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