The NHL finally seems to be getting back. According to the NHL the puck dropped on the 1st of August. Things are going to be different. For one it’s going to be a brand new playoff style with 24 teams participating, and secondly there more than likely won’t be fans allowed in attendance. These changes have sparked a lot of controversy from fans, with some questioning the validation of the win. Personally those claims are ridiculous as i would argue this year’s Cup is the hardest to ever win. The second thing sparking controversy ahead of the play-in rounds, came from the draft lottery. A lottery that gave a new meaning to the term tanking.
On the 26th of June, the NHL hosted the first phase of the lottery, where the seven teams that didnt make it to the playoff participated. These seven teams’ fate was sealed, but one position remains unclear. This draftpick was none other than the very first. This means that any of the teams knocked out in the play-in round, will take part in another lottery with a 1 in 8 chance of getting the number one pick. A 1 in 8 chance at getting a franchise player like Alexis Lafrenière.
Alexis Lafrenière Or The Playoff?
All it would take is one lost series. If you are a fan of teams that have next to no chance to win even if you make it, the prospect of wanting your team to lose a series for a chance at a superstar like Lafreniére seems tempting. As a Wild fan, I can’t deny that I salivate at the thought of a line with Kirill Kaprizov and Lafreniére, or Kevin Fiala and Lafreniére for that matter. The addition of Lafreniére could be the superstar that the Wild desperately need. All it takes is for them to lose against the Canucks and get slightly lucky just once.
The Wild have a long shot at best to win, even with some nice veterans and leadership on the team, mixed with some exciting talent down the roster. Players like Fiala looked superb before the season stopped, and the Wild was starting to get going, with a resurgent playoff push. But winning against the Blues, Bruins and Avs seemed far too tall an order even then. Now even more so with those teams healthier and ready to go. This combined with the idea of a potential first overall pick, has led some Wild fans on social media to speculate with the thought of cheering for the Canucks. For the betterment of the Wild. Something I also saw from other fans. However, this is not what i’m going to do. Because I’m going to be cheering for the Wild in any given game.
Loyalty Blinds Logic:
Now you might be asking yourself why I’m not cheering for the Wild to lose, since pretty much all I stated so far has been showing the benefits of the Wild losing to the Canucks. The honest answer is that i dont have mean arguments for it. The most logical one is the old saying of: “If you’re in, you can win”. A statement thats obviously is true, but also blinding to long term ambition. Far too many teams have died trying to chase a pipedream. Most recently the Minnesota Wild or Detroit Redwings. My logic towards supporting the Wild instead comes from my loyalty to the players and organisation.
I can say with 99.9% certainty that the players have not ever considered throwing the series. They will be chasing the chance to win as long as it’s there. For personal glory and the locker room, staff, and everyone around them. These players have been given a chance at glory. A chance some might never get to have once again since it’s hard to predict injuries or longevity in the league.
Players like Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Devan Dubnyk are starting to near the twilight years of their NHL career. They want to win the Cup before it’s over and this might be their last chance. These players have given everything to have a chance at winning, for themselves and for the fans supporting them. And that last part is why I would feel dirty for abandoning and betraying them during the playoffs. They earned the fans support, even if it goes against logic.
We Are Passionate Fans
We are fans of the most amazing sport in the world and we spend hours, days, weeks, months cheering for our heroes. Fans who have always been wanting them to win games and do well. It’s second nature to celebrate a goal with a jump, fistpump and excitement. Raw emotion takes over when we watch our teams play. Logic is replaced with instinct and i doubt that changes in the play-ins. When the puck is dropped and the games starts, these emotions, desires and instincts takes over. Even though getting Lafreniére makes far more sense in the long run, if a game 5 goes to overtime, most fans will celebrate their team scoring. At least it’s something I know I will be doing.
Also, be sure to check out the Overtime Heroics Forums page to join in on the discussion!