One of the things that has popped up as the Canucks season has deteriorated has been the idea of the team tanking for a better draft pick. This has led to hashtags like #TeamTank, #TankNation or #TANKYOUGODDAMNSONOFABITCHESTANKSOHELPMEGOD.
Now, there has been some noticeable backlash against #TeamTank, and as I am fully on board with #TeamTank, I just want to give my whole viewpoint of what I mean when I talk about tanking. It’s hard to explain fully on twitter in 140 characters so I thought I would just do it here instead.
When I talk about #TeamTank, I am not suggesting that the players actively play the game of hockey in an attempt to lose the game. I do not think Bieksa should go out on the ice and just pop a goal in his own net, give the middle fingered salute to Eddie Lack, then skate off into the locker room for a beer. Nobody would want to see the game of hockey diminished like that.
When I talk about #TeamTank, I merely mean hoping the Canucks lose and get a better draft pick position. Sure, have them play their best and do what they can to win, but at the end of the day, I would prefer it if the Canucks somehow ended up with a top six pick (through natural means), versus a top twelve pick. It’s no different hoping the Canucks get a high draft pick at this point, then if you actively hoped the Canucks would somehow lose a couple of games to end up with a favorable match up in the playoffs in a playoff bound season. You would never expect a team to throw games, but it wouldn’t prevent you from going “You know what, if the Canucks lost the last two games, they’d end up playing Team A, who they have done much better against.”
That’s all it really amounts to on my end. In a season in which the playoff hopes are already over (unless Hockey Jesus himself comes down and makes every other team ahead of the Canucks lose their games), I honestly don’t care if the Canucks lose their last games or win. I would think it would be nice if they ended up with a higher draft pick, but at the end of the day, I don’t think how the Canucks end this season will have any effect on their start to next season. If they win their last four I have a hard time seeing them coming into training camp next year saying “Last year was shit, but do you guys remember winning those last five games? LET’S DO THIS!”
This is a veteran team. This team has won many times before. This year, for whatever reasons, has been one of their worst years as a group ever. They have the experience and knowledge of what it takes to win, so with injuries being wiped clean, and maybe an addition or two over the summer, however this team ends the season won’t impact how they start off next season.
What makes this team better next season? The players being pissed off about this season. The players being healthier than this season. The players wanting to come out and show they are a playoff team. The last four games of the season, I just can’t see that weighing into things that much.
So yes, I don’t think players will or should tank. Players have pride, players need to earn jobs, it’s just not something that should happen in sports. However, hoping the team improves its fortunes (which is what I view a higher draft pick being) is nothing new to people watching a team. For some reason, some people take it as a personal affront that you would suggest the Canucks lose anything, and get very angry about this. I don’t understand that, but to each their own.
The people who want the Canucks to close out the season on a winning streak? Go for it, cheer away. If you feel the need to claim people who support #TeamTank are bandwagoners, then go for it. I just don’t understand that sentiment, though.