The New York Rangers won the first overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery on Monday, and presumptive dibs on Alexis Lafrenière, this year’s consensus top prospect.
The whole production was cheesily theatrical in the style of a reality TV elimination ceremony, with a nameless ghoul from Ernst & Young solemnly presenting a series of ping pong balls from his goofy locking tactical ping pong ball case, each emblazoned with an eligible team’s logo, and Gary Bettman superfluously validating each logo in turn. (Was this supposed to add legitimacy? Was it for accessibility? We, the TV audience, had a closer view of the logos than the socially distanced commissioner!)
Unfortunately for the nameless ghoul, New York’s ball slipped from his fingers as he held it over the lottery hopper. When the Rangers were subsequently selected, this fumble was the smoking gun for conspiracy-minded fans on Twitter. New York’s ball was heavier! The game is rigged! Outrage!
Even Roberto Luongo stoked the controversy for lolz:
Lafrenière is a French name meaning “the place of ash trees.” Only two Lafrenières have played in the NHL to date: Jason (146 games for the Nordiques, Rangers, and Lightning between 1986 and 1994), and Roger (3 games with the ’62-63 Red Wings, and 10 more with the Blues a decade later).
Alexis Lafrenière has never been to New York City, but BlueLineStation reports “he has heard it’s a ‘pretty nice spot.'”