Vancouver Canucks centre Adam Gaudette isn’t impressed with Tank Nation.
Following Friday’s NHL Draft Lottery, which resulted in a yet-to-be-determined qualifying-round team winning the first overall pick, fans are feeling conflicted. Win, and you advance in the Stanley Cup tournament, or lose and get a 1-in-8 chance at winning the first overall pick?
"Sports Saturday/ Rink Wide" POLL QUESTION: What is more appealing to you as a #Canucks fan?
— TSN Radio Vancouver (@TSN1040) June 27, 2020
Canucks fans are astute, recognizing the long term potential of consensus No. 1 pick Alexis Lafreniere. That’s why some people online are saying they’d gladly accept losing to the Minnesota Wild during the qualifying round for a 12.5% shot at winning Phase 2 of the NHL Draft Lottery.
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The NHL asked for this by instituting a goofy draft lottery format in the first place. Instead of waiting for the completion of the qualifying round, the league wanted to make news in June.
Mission accomplished on that front, but now they’ve turned fans against their own team.
What's going to bring the Canucks closer to a Stanley Cup?
Play a round or two in the COVID playoffs.
Have a chance to bring a STUD into the lineup on a ELC when they're in cap hell.#teamtank
— Taj (@taj1944) June 27, 2020
And it’s not just Canucks fans thinking this way. Here is the view from Minnesota:
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) June 28, 2020
Needless to say, this way of thinking does not fly in NHL dressing rooms. Players and coaches are ultra competitive, plus they need to perform to keep their jobs.
So when Gaudette was asked by a fan on Twitch what he thought about fans who plan to actively cheer against his team for a shot at the draft lottery, Gaudette didn’t mince words.
“I think they’re not real fans,” said Gaudette. “They can kick rocks.”
— #ThankYouSedins #TeamPlayoffs (@xBraedenn) June 29, 2020
Twitter was a virtual battleground for Canucks fans over the weekend, with people arguing whether the team would be better off winning or losing to the Wild. The Canucks are listed as 35-1 long shots to win the Stanley Cup, according to VegasInsider.com, but those odds would improve if they beat Minnesota.
Certainly, many fans will cheer for their team to win — my guess is most will — as the Canucks try to qualify for the playoffs, formally, for the first time in five years.