Twitter erupted with conspiracy theories on Tuesday after an unfortunate blunder during the NHL Draft lottery led many to believe it was ‘rigged’.
The New York Rangers won the NHL Draft lottery - and with it the rights to grab expected No. 1 overall pick Alexis Lafreniere.
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However that news was completely overshadowed by a gaffe in the lottery process that had the NHL world ablaze with claims it was rigged.
The person responsible for dropping each of the eight team balls into the apparatus accidentally dropped the Rangers’ ball too early, leading some to believe that the result was predestined all along.
The popular conspiracy theory was that the Rangers ball was accidentally dropped because it was heavier than the others.
With commissioner Gary Bettman looking on, the unidentified NHL employee was tasked with removing each ball from a case, showing it to Bettman to verify the logo, and then placing it into the machine.
However the man dropped the Rangers ball as he was about to place it.
“New York Rangers ball looks a little heavy,” former NHL goaltender Roberto Luongo wrote on Twitter.
While Rangers defenseman Anthony DeAngelo said: “I don’t like how that guy dropped the rangers ball in there. Rigged??”
New York Rangers ball looks a little heavy 🤔— Strombone (@strombone1) August 10, 2020
I don’t like how that guy dropped the rangers ball in there. Rigged??— Tony DeAngelo (@TonyDee07) August 10, 2020
And they weren’t alone.
That’s the extremely good stuff. pic.twitter.com/CuEHt5nJPF— Justin Fisher (Nautical) (@thejustinfisher) August 10, 2020
The exact moment the NHL rigged the Draft Lottery. Notice the look in his eyes when he dropped the ball in the tube early. Somethin fishy goin on here... pic.twitter.com/oyAYVLEIJO— x- Brind’amour is my dad (@VerySadCanesFan) August 10, 2020
35 thousand edmontonians are fed up with your rigged nhl draft lottery shenanigans, nhl. pic.twitter.com/7Xtdcz3ggP— Jeff Chapman (@NewWaveOil) August 10, 2020
New York’s latest draft lottery controversy
It’s not the first time a New York-based team has been involved in a prominent draft conspiracy theory either.
In 1985, Patrick Ewing was considered the best college basketball prospect of the decade to date, after an outstanding four-year career at Georgetown.
Each team that was eligible for the lottery had their name placed into a separate envelope, with all eight teams sporting an equal 12.5 percent chance.
David Stern, who was conducting his second draft as commissioner, drew the Knicks’ envelope from the inside, leading some to believe that the Knicks’ entry was “frozen” or marked ahead of time so they could select Ewing.
I'm not trying to single out that guy. It's a hard job, made even harder by how frostbitten his fingers must have been while holding the Rangers' ball. https://t.co/ULJQBbWbny— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) August 10, 2020
The NHL held its initial draft lottery in June, which included the seven teams that did not qualify for the expanded 24-team tournament, as well as one placeholder pick for one of the eight teams that lost in the qualification round.
The placeholder pick won June's initial draft lottery, which forced the second - or Phase 2 - lottery drawing on Monday.
Each of the eight teams eliminated in the qualifying round had an equal 12.5 percent chance of being chosen for the No. 1 overall pick on Monday.
Prior to the draw, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league felt the format was the best for competitive balance.
“Under these unusual circumstances, this made the most sense, and was fair,” Bettman said.
“Despite who you root for and what results ultimately it obtains.”
With Yahoo Sports Canada and agencies