The New York Rangers lost their qualifying round series without a single win. Despite being the first team knocked out of the 24-team postseason/ season-wrap-up tournament, they still had to vie with 7 other teams (Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, and the Winnipeg Jets) to be crowned the winner of the Alexis Lafrenière sweepstakes.
Of course, this didn’t happen without some mild controversy. The ping pong balls embossed with the logos of the 8 teams in contention for the number one overall pick were verified by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman after being presented by a Nervous Accountant Guy (NAG) from Ernst & Young while Jamie Hersch yammered on about recent high picks or historical highs by each team shown.
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) August 10, 2020
When the New York Rangers ball was presented, the NAG dropped the ball in the tube prior to confirmation, quickly retrieving it from the tube. That was enough to set people off on a conspiracy.
— IslesBlog (@IslesBlog) August 10, 2020
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) August 10, 2020
It’s a shame they didn’t drag it out to be last ball standing, making it more tense and satisfying. One would hope that the Leafs still wouldn’t win the pick.
For what it’s worth, I called the Rags to win the top pick last week immediately after the Canes eliminated them from the qualifying round.
So, the Rags are gonna get the number one pick, huh?
— VA (@VAfromRI) August 5, 2020
That was before I knew that everyone was in the mix because why should we waste this moment to bring out ping pong balls and lottery machines for valuable television airtime? Why not make it more complicated?
Turn on NBCSN right now. The NHL is going to draw one lottery ball to determine which team, that was just eliminated from the playoffs, gets to draft a phenom at No. 1. It’s awesome.
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) August 10, 2020
Of course, the Carolina Hurricanes, former opponent of the Rangers and the current one for the Bruins, congratulated them in their own special way.
You’re welcome @NYRangers
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) August 10, 2020
Tonight, the Bruins take on the Hurricanes at 8pm on NESN, NBCSN, and Fox Sports Carolinas.