This idea was developed by Bill Simmons as an alternative to the NBA draft lottery.
The "Entertaining as Hell Tournament" is a proposal designed to vanquish the modern disease of tanking in pro sports. Take the 16 worst teams and instead of motivating them for a lottery spot, you pit them in a 2 week long single elimination (best of 3?) March Madness style tournament, with the winner obtaining the 1st pick in the draft and so forth down the line. Both finalists would get an 8th seed with the runner up choosing which #1 seed it wants to play in round one. This would eliminate tanking altogether as having a bad team would get you the 15th overall pick. New Entry Draft Structure:
Non EaHT teams pick 30 through to 17 / EaHT results determine 1st through to 16
Though marginal playoff teams may deliberately miss the playoffs for the #1 pick due to the EaHT, it’s still a better alternative to watching close to a third of the league rebuild, making their fans suffer through years of bad hockey. Meanwhile bottom feeder teams would be given a multi year window before implementation of this system to shape up or ship out. The tournament would take place in a 2 week window directly at the end of the season, giving the playoff teams time to rest and heal, while adversely developing a bit of rust, making the 1-8 matchup even more compelling than usual.
A projection of the 2013 – 2014 tournament:
1) Washington Capitals – 13) New York Islanders (WSH wins best of Three Series 2 – 0) Ovechkin and Tavares play dueling banjos, scoring 5 of the 7 goals in the series.
2) Detroit Red Wings – 11) Carolina Hurricanes (DET wins best of Three Series 2 – 0) Datsyuk and Zberg return to destroy the ’Canes by scores of 6 – 1 and 4 – 0.
3) Philadelphia Flyers – 10) Ottawa Senators (OTT wins best of Three Series 2 – 1) Karlsson named MVP with 6 points and the series winning goal in 2OT.
5) Phoenix Coyotes – 9) Nashville Predators (NSH wins best of Three Series 2 – 1) Wilson comes alive for 5 points. Pekka Rinne again MVP. Webs with 3 goals.
1) Washington Capitals – 10) Ottawa Senators (WSH wins best of Three Series 2 – 1) Jaro Halak takes MVP honors. M Green, Ovie and B Ryan with 3 goals a piece.
2) Detroit Red Wings – 9) Nashville Predators (NSH wins best of Three Series 2 – 1) Datsyuk wins MVP in a ruthless series. P Hornqvist with 3 goals and a black eye.
1) Washington Capitals – 9) Nashville Predators (WSH wins best of Three 2 – 1) Ovechkin and Rinne share the MVP. Jon Garcia experiences NHL Sophies Choice.
Final Draft Rankings after EaHT / Prospect Drafted (Using the 2013 Draft Class)
1) Washington Capitals – D Seth Jones / Caps win the Cup in '17.
2) Nashville Predators – C Nathan MacKinnon / Finally, a franchise center!
3) Detroit Red Wings – CAlexander Barkov / Long term Datsyuk replacement.
4) Ottawa Senators – LW Jonathan Drouin / Drouin, Spezza and Ryan!
5) Philadelphia Flyers – D Darnell Nurse / No more silly Weber offers!
6) Phoenix Coyotes – LW Elias Lindholm / Elias joins Hanzal on top line.
7) Carolina Hurricanes – C Sean Monahan / Monahan = future 'Canes Captain.
8) New York Islanders – D Rasmus Ristolainen / Young Finn stabilizes the Isles D core.
9) Columbus Blue Jackets – RW Valeri Nichushkin / The Russian Rick Nash.
10) Vancouver Canucks – C Bo Horvat / Hey, they drafted the same dude!
11) New Jersey Devils – D Samuel Morin / Hey, NJ drafted a defenseman!
12) Winnipeg Jets – RW Max Domi / Domi becomes a fan favourite and scores 20 goals.
13) Calgary Flames – D Josh Morrissey / Morrissey strengthens their D core.
14) Florida Panthers – C Alex Wennberg / Wennberg becomes their #2 C.
15) Edmonton Oilers – D Ryan Pulock / Finally, a shutdown D man!
16) Buffalo Sabres – D Nikita Zadorov / Same as the real draft!
We can finally witness an NHL where every single franchise tries to ice the best possible team in hopes of either contending for the Stanley Cup or snagging the #1 pick due to late season brilliance, as opposed to ineptitude. We would see bad GMs with crazy owners (ahem, NYI) out of the league quicker than you can say "Rick DiPietro contract!". Each team would be given a legit shot at glory and no fanbase will ever be disinterested.
PS My personal wrinkle would be to let the winner pick a single player from each losing team to join them on their quest. It’s a little weird but 200% fun! Behold:
The Caps would select: 1. BUF (T Myers) 2. NYI (J Tavares) 3. OTT (E Karlsson)
The Preds would select: 1. WPG (E Kane) 2. PHX (M Ribeiro) 3. DET (P Datsyuk).
The more comments the better! This is still a very malleable idea. Go Wild! :D