Lowe needs lottery lesson

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:24 AM ET

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The NHL draft lottery goes on Tuesday and the Oilers, tied for fifth-last in the league, will be in the running for the first pick overall.

It's a weighted system, with the 30th place team having a 25% chance of having one of its ping pong balls picked, and the 17th place team having a 0.5% chance. No team can move up more than four spaces, so only the bottom five teams have a shot at No. 1.

Oilers GM Kevin Lowe had to refresh himself on the procedure.

"I remember taking a look at the memo when it first came out," he said. "But I didn't pay much attention to it because I didn't think it affected us."

One win in 19 games later, it does.

Just Edmonton's luck, they have three first round picks, and they move up to No.1 in the lottery, and it's said to be one of the weaker drafts in recent years.

"At the very high end, Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin, those types of guys aren't jumping out," he said. "But there's always good players. There are probably five or seven really good players at the upper end."

GO FIGURE: J.F. Jacques, a point a game guy in the AHL, goes 37 games with the Oilers and doesn't get a single point. His first game back in the A, he scores the winning goal for Wilkes-Barre.

WILD ON MINNY: Craig MacTavish agrees with coaching legend Scotty Bowman that Minnesota is going to be a dangerous playoff opponent for someone.

"They have plenty of game," said MacTavish. "It's a simple formula and they have all the ingredients. The most important thing is the goaltending, and they've got that.

"They have good structure and they can kill penalties.

"If you have (that), you can beat anybody. I like their team a lot."

Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire, understandably, isn't too high on the current Oilers. Asked about what it would tell him if the Wild didn't sweep Edmonton, he said: "If our guys play as hard as they can and do not win the games, I think we're in trouble."


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