Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/20/05 at 07:02 PM ET
With the NHL lockout officially set to end by Friday the league is getting some flak as it prepares to re-launch itself to the sporting world. First came news that the much-anticipated draft lottery. Initially, the order of the 2005 entry draft and the right to draft the highly-touted Sidney Crosby would not be broadcast live when it's conducted on Thursday. After much protest from fans and media, however, the NHL reconsidered and decided to allow Canadian sportsnetwork TSN to carry the results of the lottery live; although the actual lottery itself will still be conducted privately. The league's original decision to shut out the media from the lottery was puzzling. After a solid year of negative publicity, this was the NHL's chance to start putting things right with their fans and with the North American sporting world. Perhaps the powers that be believed coverage of a bingo-ball lottery wouldn't generate any real excitement. But considering the future NHL destination of Crosby is on the line, as well as those of other top junior players, fans starved for positive hockey news have been waiting months for this. Fortunately the league backtracked, but even conducting the lottery in secret raises the dark specter of "fixing" the draft in order to ensure that some teams, such as the New York Rangers, might get first crack at Crosby. It's a ludicrous suggestion, since none of the other team owners and general managers in attendance for this lottery would knowingly stand for that kind of monkey business.
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