Jan 9, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine (left) looks on as general manager Tim Murray speaks to the media during the press conference announcing his appointment as the new Sabres general manager at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

How Do You Fix a Lottery?

Poor Buffalo Sabres.  They have missed the playoffs the last three seasons.  They have to live in Buffalo (those winters would be hard on anybody).  At least this year they finished last so they would get the first pick in the draft right?  Aw shucks lost that in the lottery to the Florida Panthers.  But hot dog, next year they are in the catbird seat, they have three first round picks (two of which could reasonably be considered lottery picks) and are icing a team that may be forced to trade or buyout bad players because they got rid of all the good ones.

Oh wait….we are getting word that….yep they are changing the rules for next year.  That’s right teams have made decisions, crafted trades and engaged in multi-million dollar buyouts preparing for next year, so it makes perfect sense to change the rules a year out.  But at least they made sure this was fair to all involved right?

“I think that if you did it three years out, you know you’re affecting somebody. You’re affecting a bad team, but you’re not quite sure who that team is right now.”

Guess who said that?  If your answer is Sabres GM Tim Murray then you win 10,000 myth points.  Yes the same Tim Murray who has completely dismantled the Buffalo Sabres for the purpose of rebuilding them into a good hockey team.  At least he wasn’t  building up those first round picks banking to get the first overall pick, right?

Joking aside Murray brings up a good point that is often overlooked in the new reactionary world of rule changes.  Shouldn’t all rule changes have at least a three year period before they go into effect so that teams and players can prepare themselves and plan accordingly.  I’m sure the other twelve NHL general managers who have a realistic shot at being in the draft lottery next year applaud the decision to make it more competitive, who cares if it actually diminishes the integrity of the process by changing the rules after everyone agreed to play the game.  And I have it on good authority that these changes for next year have absolutely nothing to do with next year being the “Connor McDavid Sweepstakes”.

Well, at least the NHL isn’t making a habit of selectively enforcing or changing rules to punish, and then subsequently change their minds on the punishment of, teams that violate their rules (My good friend Lou Lamoriello let me in on that.)

Tags: Buffalo Sabres NHL Draft Lottery Tim Murray

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