Taking a chance on Sid

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

VIENNA, Austria -- A 5.77% chance Sidney Crosby could end up playing with Rick Nash and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

A 3.85% chance The Great One, if Wayne Gretzky decides to coach the Phoenix Coyotes when NHL hockey returns, could end up coaching The Next Great One.

A 3.85% chance of the second coming of Gretzky ending up with the Edmonton Oilers.

A 1.92% chance Crosby could end up with the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

Those are the percentages if Gary Bettman and the NHL board of governors adopt a lockout draft plan several NHL people at the IIHF World Hockey Championship believe will be put in place for this year's entry draft.

With the IIHF World Championships over, hockey is over for NHL players this year. Next up, before they play again, is the draft. If the NHL people are right, they're going to play bingo.

NHL hockey people here are convinced Bettman will convince the board of governors to adopt a system for the draft that will be based on how teams finished over the course of the last three years.

If they're right, and this system is adopted, the odds of Crosby ending up with a Canadian franchise would be 15.4%.

The concept features a relatively simple system involving bingo balls and whether or not your team has been making or missing the playoffs lately. If you've missed the playoffs three times in the last three years, you get three balls in the bingo machine. That's Columbus, Buffalo, Atlanta, Florida, Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers.

TWO BALLS

If you've missed the playoffs twice, you get two balls. That's Edmonton, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Nashville, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Washington, Minnesota and Anaheim.

Everybody else gets one ball.

Total: 52 balls. Your number rolls out first and ... BINGO! Crosby is yours.

If you have more than one ball, your remaining one or two balls would be taken out of the machine. Then they'd do it again with improved odds, picking No. 2. And so it would go. The draft would be held by telephone, probably with a closed-circuit TV feed to each NHL city, and use a reverse system similar to one familiar to hockey pool players.

If you get the first pick in the first round, you pick last in the second round.

If you get the first pick and Crosby, you don't pick again until the 60th choice.

YOU'LL BE A WINNER

Most scouts figure you'll be a winner in this draft if you have any one of the top 10 picks. But Crosby is the big prize.

Many NHL general managers, coaches and scouts in Innsbruck and Vienna for the world championship have varying degrees of belief, from being absolutely convinced this is the exact plan which will be put in place to feeling something similar would be approved.

"Doug MacLean thinks he should have 10 balls," said one NHL team source on the chance of Nash and Crosby ending up on the team that made Nash the No. 1 pick overall two years ago.

"Some teams would be happy with it and others certainly wouldn't," said another NHL general manager.

Montreal, for example, would have only one ball despite missing the playoffs once and finishing with a combined 257 points over the three years compared to Detroit's 335, Ottawa's 309, Philadelphia's 305, Colorado's 304, New Jersey's 303, Toronto's 301, Vancouver's 299 and Dallas's 298.

Dallas is the only one of those teams to also miss the playoffs once during the three seasons.

The NHL draft event, scheduled for Ottawa in June, was cancelled earlier this year.

Maybe you have a better idea. Send it to G. Bettman c/o National Hockey League, 1251 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York, 10020. Or email edm-sports@edmsun.com

Maybe some sort of four-year-missing-the-playoffs setup using all 75 bingo balls?

Or a double zero roulette wheel with teams which haven't missed the playoffs in the last three years getting no numbers?

Think up whatever you might, I think this is about as fair a setup as you could come up with.


Videos

Photos