Seeing your team at the bottom of the standings is a tough situation to be in. If they’re lucky, most fans will never experience the absolute apathy one can feel about the team when they’re in the league’s basement. However, the unlucky ones will know the routine. A poor start to the season is justified and excused until it becomes obvious that there will be no miracle turnaround. By mid-November, just over a month into the season, you’re already looking forward to the draft and the year beyond.
That, of course, leaves five months of hockey on a “lame duck” season. One could arguably just ignore the team until the draft, but most choose to play out the season like any other. Sit down every other night, grab a beer, and flip the game on, even knowing that the result will end up in a loss for their team more often than not. So why not buy into it?
Watching a bottom-feeder throw winnable games away has led many a fan to drink, and there’s nothing sadder than drinking without purpose. Give yourself a reason to watch your team’s race to a lottery pick and follow the NHL’s Bottom-Feeder, Lottery Team Drinking Game.
Take One Shot When…
– The lottery team loses a game
– The lottery team wins a game (Let’s face it. If it’s a true lottery team, wins are just as bad as losses)
– A player on the lottery team puts the puck into his own net.
– A lottery team powerplay goes the full two minutes without a shot on goal (partial powerplays do not count).
– An opposing team scores a powerplay goal within the first 20 seconds of their powerplay.
– A lottery team defenseman misplays an odd-man rush, leading to a goal against.
– The lottery team’s captain finishes the game without a point.
Take Two Shots When…
– The lottery team’s captain is directly responsible for a goal against.
– The camera flashes to the lottery team’s coach looking bewildered or in disbelief at his own team (Also known as the Tortorella rule).
– A 5-minute major or a 5-on-3 lasting longer than 1:30 passes by without a goal.
– The lottery team allows a shorthanded goal.
– The term “moral victory” is used in a lottery team’s pre-game/post-game interview.
– The lottery team’s commentators mention the name of the consensus #1 overall pick in that year’s draft.
– The lottery team’s commentators spend large portions of the game discussing anything but the game itself.
– The lottery team is shutout.
– The lottery team loses by 3 or more goals (not counting empty net goals)
Take Three Shots When…
– The lottery team plays such a dominant game, from start to finish, that one could mistake them for a playoff team (That’s cruel and unusual teasing of what might have been).
– The lottery team manages to outdo their worst performance of the season by putting up an even worse performance the next game.
– The word “tank” is used by any players/coaches/management on the lottery team. (Exceptions: Rule does not apply in reference to Veterans Day/Remembrance Day or in reference to the SAP Center. Sorry, San Jose fans.)
– The lottery team loses a game in the final minute of regulation.
– The lottery team loses a game in overtime (Probably the worst possible result for a lottery team).
– The general manager does not acquire at least two picks and/or prospects at the trade deadline.
Chug a Beer When…
– The general manager re-signs all expiring contracts, essentially bringing the same team to the ice the following year.
– The lottery team wins enough games to fall out of the consensus range for “future elite players” in the upcoming draft.
– The head coach is fired, only to be replaced by someone that will not fare any better (Also known as the “Lesser of Two Evils” or the “MacTavish” rule).
Follow these simple rules and, as if by magic, the fact that your team is heading straight for the basement will no longer matter. Games will be more fun to watch, the opposite sex will seem much more attractive, and you’ll be the smoothest talking person in the room. However, that could just be the alcohol talking.
Be warned though: The NHL’s Bottom Feeder, Lottery Team Drinking Game is designed to get a fan through a tough season, which requires the fan to make it through the season in the first place. Be Smart. Drink responsibly.
Jonathan Gardner currently lives in Raleigh, NC and covers the Carolina Hurricanes.