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12-30-2009, 09:24 AM
Kind of Blue
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Originally Posted by Synergy27 View Post
...Wouldn't this then mean that tanking doesn't exist in the way we all assume it does?...
Tanking doesn't exist in the way most or all of the "Tankers" assume it does, but not for the reasons stated in your post.

We have a lot of people around here who have no concept of the reality of the business and management of professional sports and the mentality and character makeup of professional athletes, and for whom fantasy sports leagues and video games are the driving influence in their frame of reference. It seems to me this is the general profile of the overwhelming majority of the "Tankers." I think some who are simply very young and inexperienced make up the group as well.

Here are some of the problems with your post and the Tankers' rationale, and I'll quote a section of your original post...

Originally Posted by Synergy27 View Post
...I got to thinking about how (and if) another very important group of people view NHL prospects - current NHL players.

Take Chris Drury for example. Do you think he is even aware of who Taylor Hall is (please refrain from making jokes about how he won't let Hall ruin his weekend). Let's assume he does. Now, take it a step further. Does he look at the kid and say "damn, he could really help the Rangers win" or something more along the lines of "damn, my job could be in jeopardy if that kid ends up as part of this organization."?

How does this relate to tanking? Well, I just find it hard to believe that people involved with the day-to-day operations of a hockey team (think players and coaches) have the time to keep tabs on the next generation of stars. They've probably heard of the potential top end guys, but I doubt they think about how awesome it would be to have them lining up next to them in the future like we all do. And if they did, wouldn't it motivate them to perform better because their livelihood might be at stake? Wouldn't this then mean that tanking doesn't exist in the way we all assume it does?
Now, you're looking at the issue of tanking from the wrong perspective.

First of all, tanking is extremely rare, let's realize that (if the Rangers should be tanking now, that means half the teams in this league, and every league, every year, should be/is actually trying to lose). Without getting too deep into it, not only does tanking go against most people's natural instincts -- especially people in sports -- but there can be serious business consequences to tanking over any significant period of time.

But, if and when it happens, it comes from ownership/management, not the players.

And even if placed in that position, do you realize how difficult it is to get any professional athletes to "tank" it -- let alone a group of them?

I was going to make this point in a similar thread a week or so ago, and I was going to talk about professional athlete's natural pride and competitiveness, and how some people around here seem to have no concept of it, but that this is something the significance of which cannot be overstated...

...Then a few days later the issue of players' pride and competitiveness popped up in a Mike Lupica feature on the Knicks' David Lee. You could argue that if any team in professional sports should have been tanking, it would have been the Knicks -- and I would argue at one particular point, they were. That came from management, not the players. The players are what make it difficult.

Here are some excerpts from the story, and David Lee's comments should give some people some insight into athletes' mentality:

Here is David Lee, who has been the best of it for a while with the Knicks, who deserves a better team and better circumstances, talking on Christmas Eve about what it has been like to be a Knick at this time in New York:

"There are times when it's been real bad, nights when you didn't want to go out on the court and play, where you thought if you lost one more game you were going to go crazy. But I would find a reason to play every night, as hard as I can. And the reason isn't complicated. It's just competitiveness. It's wanting to compete and NOT wanting to get embarrassed. Sometimes that would be my only mind-set: I am going to do whatever I can to make sure we don't get embarrassed tonight. Make sure we don't get blown out."

Lee wasn't done there. Knicks fans know by now. The guy keeps coming.

"Competitiveness keeps the game as simple as possible, at least for me," he said. "I know we're going to go up against better teams. I know I'm going to play guys who are bigger and stronger than I am. But I am not going to allow myself to be embarrassed."

[Full story]
I can tell you that while David Lee is in my opinion a special player, his feelings of pride and competitiveness are not special among professional athletes. That's why they don't tank. That's why even if you ask them to, they may not be able to. That and the fact that athletes don't think that far in advance with respect to any particular team's future -- that is, to sacrifice themselves now (their image, statistics, etc., in addition to their pride and competitiveness) so that some prospect, who may or may not come along, may or may not help the team at an unspecified time in the future, at which point the current players may or may not even be around.

EDIT: Nice post HockeyBasedNYC... I hadn't seen it, but your main point is similar to mine and is well put.

Last edited by Kind of Blue: 12-30-2009 at 02:32 PM.
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