Just the other evening, I was at a four-way stop at a country road when someone in a white SUV plowed right through the intersection. Had I not been delayed by a few seconds leaving an event, or had my mind been a bit more distracted, I might not be writing this column. The little things really matter in life, especially those that you really have no control over.
This also applies to hockey. Back on April 29 of this year, the Montreal Canadiens were finishing their season walloping the Florida Panthers 10-2. For an hour and a half or so, many Hab fans were getting both angry and antsy as the Arizona Coyotes now seemed ready to snag away this summer’s NHL draft lottery by finishing last overall and thereby securing the highest odds of picking number one.
Things were looking really dire as the Yotes were down 4-0 to the Nashville Predators in just the first seven minutes of the game. Hab fans in the know were ruing their team’s 10-2 victory.
“Fortunately,” Arizona responded with five unanswered goals, the last of which, thanks to a setup by Alex Galchenyuk, (remember him) capped off a highly unlikely comeback win. As a result, the Coyotes earned the second-highest odds of picking first and perhaps, are now responsible for the future fate of both franchises.
The next morning was a great morning for Montreal fans as they were now “masters of their own destiny”. That was a comforting narrative for perhaps a week or two but fast forward three months later, and what happened on April 29th may turn out to be an abject lesson in being careful what one wishes for.
What if Arizona had lost? What if Montreal, with its reduced odds, had ended up with pick number two? Think of the relief this would have brought to the Canadiens’ fanbase.
Go on YouTube and look at the videos of General Manager Kent Hughes’ face when the Habs won the lottery. Does he not look like a man who knows that his job just got a lot harder?
Whoever got number one, let’s say, Arizona, would now have to make the Solomon-like decision of selecting Shane Wright, Juraj Slafkovsky, or perhaps Logan Cooley instead of GM Hughes.
Montreal would get a very good consolation prize without any of the headaches associated with selecting first. There would never be a new, Doug Wickenheiser-Denis Savard-like debate that will last for another 40 years. All because Arizona won a highly unlikely hockey game on the last night of the 2021 season.
For what it’s worth, my choice for number one overall in this year’s draft is Shane Wright. Yours might be Juraj Safkovsky- or perhaps the very intriguing Logan Cooley. You can make a case for all three.
Wouldn’t it have been better for the Montreal Canadiens fans, the tandem of Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes, and perhaps Shane Wright and his family, if the Coyotes had simply lost their last game?
The little things – the ones that you have no control over, can really make a difference. Keep that in mind the next time that you’re delayed over something. It might be preventing you from getting sideswiped.