Tag Archives: ‘lottery’

NHL draft lottery ends on cliffhanger as mystery team wins No. 1 pick

Alexis Lafreniere will have to wait a little longer to find out where he’ll start his NHL career.

One of eight placeholder spots beat the odds to secure the No. 1 pick in the league’s draft lottery Friday, meaning a second draw is required later this summer following the qualifying round of the NHL’s return-to-play plan.

“Still not drafted, so we’ll still have to wait a little bit,” Lafreniere said on the television broadcast.

The placeholders, who represent the eight teams that will eventually lose out in the NHL’s qualfying round, had a combined 24.5 per cent chance of picking first.

The eliminated teams from eight separate best-of-five play-in series will have a 12.5 per cent chance of securing the top pick in the second phase of the lottery.

The Los Angeles Kings will pick second, while the Ottawa Senators, who had the best combined odds of picking first at 25 per cent because they also owned the San Jose Sharks’ selection, will select third and fifth.

“It’s an interesting night when you’re coming into this, because you know all the odds and the different scenarios,” Kings general manager Rob Blake said. “We were sitting fourth coming into this and we finished second, so we’re excited about that opportunity.”

The Detroit Red Wings, who had the best singular odds to pick first at 18.5, fell to No. 4 after losing all three lotteries for the top-3 picks.

“Realistically, I’m prepared to be sitting here today not talking about the first pick,” Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman said. “I’m not really surprised.”

“We all knew this could happen,” Senators GM Pierre Dorion added of seeing a placeholder get the No. 1 spot.

The league was originally scheduled to hold the first round of the 2020 draft Friday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a pause to the season back in March.

WATCH | Placeholder team earns top pick:

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly announced that the first overall selection in the 2020 NHL Draft will belong to a team that has yet to be eliminated from the qualifying round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 1:12

Lafreniere — a winger for the Rimouski Oceacnic and NHL Central Scouting’s top-ranked North American skater — is expected to go first overall when the draft is eventually held at a later date.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly revealed the draft order from the league’s television studio in Secaucus, N.J., just outside New York City.

The Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres round out the top-8 in what is the most complicated lottery in NHL history.

Apart from its own pick, 30th-ranked Ottawa also possesses San Jose’s selection as part of the blockbuster trade for star defenceman Erik Karlsson in September 2018. San Jose was 29th in the overall standings when the league went on hiatus.

The seven draft spots owned by franchises outside the league’s 24-team plan to resume the 2019-20 season later this summer were confirmed as part of the draw, but the other eight were occupied by placeholders representing clubs that will eventually lose out in the best-of-five qualifying round ahead of the playoffs.

Picks nine through 15 will now be determined by the yet-to-be-eliminated teams’ regular-season points percentage at the time of the league’s pause on March 12.

And there’s still no guarantee the NHL will be able to resume its season this summer.

The league and the players’ association continue to negotiate a number of details related to the plan to resume the pandemic-hit campaign — among them health and safety concerns, and where the two hub cities will be located — all while attempting to tie everything together with a possible extension to the current collective bargaining agreement.

‘He’s shown himself at every level’

Lafreniere, the two-time Canadian Hockey League player of the year, had 35 goals and 112 points in 52 games before the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season was cancelled because of the novel coronavirus outbreak. The 18-year-old from St-Eustache, Que., was also named MVP of the 2020 world junior hockey championship after helping lead Canada to gold.

“He’s shown himself at every level, every event that he’s capable to be the difference maker,” said Dan Marr, director of NHL Central Scouting. “He knows what needs to be done, and he can go out and make that happen. There’s not too many players that can take control of a game, take control of a situation.

“He has the talent, the skills, the speed, the smarts, the compete, the battle, the perseverance, the will to be the best, and the will to win.”

Sudbury Wolves centre Quinton Byfield of the Ontario Hockey League is ranked No. 2 behind Lafreniere on the North American list, while German winger Tim Stutzle slots in as the No. 1 European skater.

“This is a hell of a draft, especially at the top,” said Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving, whose team is preparing to meet the Winnipeg Jets in the NHL’s qualifying round. “There’s some big-time players.”

The draft lottery is usually held in April at the conclusion of the regular schedule and before the playoffs, but was pushed back because of the pandemic before the NHL unveiled this format as part of its return-to-play plan last month.

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Toronto parents whose baby needs a $2.8M drug turn to Swiss drugmaker’s dose lottery as a last resort

Lying on the couch by the Christmas tree in her Toronto home, four-month-old Eva Batista begins to cry as her mom places a suction mask over her face to remove excess saliva building up in her throat. 

Eva has spinal muscular atrophy, a rare, potentially deadly genetic disorder that weakens her muscles, making it difficult to breath at times or eat without the aid of tubes.

The only possible cure, a gene therapy called Zolgensma, costs $ 2.8 million for a one-time dose.

Eva’s parents, Jessica and Ricardo Batista, have two hopes for obtaining the potentially life-saving treatment: either through an international dose lottery run by the Swiss manufacturer of Zolgensma or a long-shot fundraising campaign to raise the money themselves.

But they don’t have much time.

Their daughter must get a dose before she turns two for it to work.

Eva was diagnosed with the disorder weeks after she was born, immediately setting her parents on a desperate search for a way to give her the best shot at life.

“It was overwhelming,” Ricardo said of learning Eva’s diagnosis. “It was kind of like [hitting] a brick wall.”

Eva’s parents, Ricardo and Jessica Batista, hope to sign up for a lottery run by the drug company Novartis in hopes of securing a free dose of the one-time gene therapy injection that could potentially cure their daughter’s life-threatening disease. (Paul Smith/CBC)

Spinal muscular atrophy affects one out of every 8,000 to 10,000 people worldwide, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. 

Zolgensma targets the root cause of the disease. The treatment would replace the function of the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1 gene), which could eventually allow Eva to walk.

Novartis, the Swiss-based pharmaceutical company that produces the drug, tells CBC News it intends to seek Health Canada approval to sell Zolgensma here.

For now, the treatment is only available in the U.S.

‘It should be based on need, not how lucky you are’

The Batistas are partly pinning their hopes on a lottery Novartis is opening on Jan. 2.

It will give out 100 free doses of Zolgensma to children under the age of two from countries where the treatment hasn’t been approved.

The company tells CBC News its intention is for this to be a long-term commitment with additional doses added to the program based on patient need and the expansion of its manufacturing capacity.

But the method of distributing the drug based on a lottery system is facing backlash from some in the medical community. 

“It should be based on need, not how lucky you are in a lottery,” said Joel Lexchin, a health policy expert with the University of Toronto.

“This [cost of Zolgensma] is an example of drug companies exploiting people’s desperation.”

So far, the Batistas have raised more than $ 1.5 million through a Go Fund Me page and charity dinners to pay for a trip to the U.S. to buy Zolgensma on their own.

However, they’re still short more than $ 1 million as the clock keeps ticking for Eva.

Eva needs to be fed through a tube every two hours. Her parents take shifts refilling the tube. (Paul Smith/CBC)

A spokesperson for Novartis tells CBC News its gene therapy is priced in the U.S. at approximately 50 per cent less than the current 10-year cost of chronic spinal muscular atrophy treatment, which stops working if a patient stops taking the medication.

“AveXis [a Novartis company] understands families grappling with an SMA diagnosis are in need of promising therapies and has been working to explore all options to provide access wherever possible,” spokesperson Samantha Schwarz wrote in an email to CBC News.

“One-time treatment options, compared with reoccurring options over long periods of time, may reduce the burden of disease to patients, families, and the overall health-care systems by replacing repeat, lifetime therapy.”

‘That’s not fair’

The Batistas want a shot at the Novartis lottery. But in order to apply, they have to prove Eva’s current treatment is ineffective.

The requirement has befuddled her parents because the treatment they are currently administering, called Spinraza, can only slow down the symptoms, not reverse them.

A photo of Jessica and Ricardo Batista holding newborn Eva in their Toronto living room. (Paul Smith/CBC)

Jessica and Ricardo said they can’t understand why Eva should be denied a treatment that could drastically improve her life. 

“I would understand a bit better if there wasn’t any other alternative, but there is something out there,” Jessica said.

“The fact that we can’t get access to it. And so she’s basically on her last breath — that’s not fair.”

‘It’s heartbreaking’

In the meantime, the Batistas can try to get Zolgensma through Health Canada’s Special Access Program, but they face similar hurdles.

The Batistas said their doctor has not applied on Eva’s behalf because Zolgensma is only granted when conventional therapies have failed. The parents say the doctor doesn’t think Eva would have a strong case because she is on Spinraza.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Marilyn Gladu, Conservative health critic and MP for the southern Ontario riding of Sarnia-Lambton.

“I would hope that the health minister would intervene with the Special Access Program to allow them to have this drug brought to Canada.”

Marilyn Gladu, Conservative health critic and MP for Sarnia-Lambton, is calling on newly appointed Health Minister Patty Hajdu to intervene in Eva’s case. (Marilyn Gladu Campaign)

Gladu is calling for changes to Ottawa’s approval process for restricted medications to speed up approvals and lower costs.

‘We need a national framework for these orphan drugs’

NDP health critic Jenny Kwan said Eva’s case highlights flaws in Canada’s health-care system when it comes to what are known as orphan drugs, cutting-edge treatments for rare disorders for which there isn’t enough of a market to make them commercially viable without government funds.

“I think this case speaks to exactly the reason why we need a national framework for these orphan drugs,” said Kwan, the MP for Vancouver East.

“Nobody should have to depend on the luck of the draw in Canada to access life-saving medication. We’re better than that.”

The NDP is pushing for a universal pharmacare program that includes access to drugs that treat rare diseases.

Jenny Kwan, NDP deputy health critic and Vancouver East MP, wants the Liberals to provide a universal pharmacare program that includes access to medication for rare diseases. (Ashley Burke/CBC News)

In a statement to CBC News, Thierry Bélair, a spokesperson for Health Minister Patty Hajdu, said the federal government made a commitment in 2019 to spend $ 500 million per year to help Canadians with rare diseases access drugs not yet approved. 

Part of the money is going toward the creation of a national strategy to gather evidence on high-cost drugs for rare diseases and help negotiate lower prices.

“Canadians with rare diseases and those who care for them face unimaginable challenges,” Bélair wrote. “Our government is committed to getting them the help they need.”

As Ottawa works on a plan, time is running out for Eva and her parents. 

“It’s not a game,” Ricardo said. “If there is something available, why do we have to wait till she’s failing and in her last moments?”

Welcome to The National, the flagship nightly newscast of CBC News 45:17

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Devils draw 1st overall pick in 2019 NHL draft lottery

The New Jersey Devils will have the No. 1 pick at this year’s NHL draft.

The team was announced Tuesday night as the winner of the draft lottery.

The Colorado Avalanche had the best odds of landing the first pick at 18.5 per cent, but they drew the No. 4 selection. The New York Rangers will pick second and the Chicago Blackhawks will select third at the June draft.

The 15 teams that failed to qualify for the 2019 playoffs — or the franchises that acquired the first-round picks of non-playoff clubs — participated in the lottery.

The Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers were the Canadian teams involved. Edmonton drew the No. 8 pick, Vancouver earned the 10th-overall selection and Montreal will pick 15th.

It’s the second time in two years that New Jersey will have the top draft pick. They also won the 2017 lottery, moving up four spots before picking centre Nico Hischier.

The Devils are likely to pick American forward Jack Hughes this time around.

“For me, my biggest things are my inner drive, my competitiveness,” Hughes said Tuesday before the lottery winner was announced. “I want to score, I want to score every shift and make a play happen. But I mean, obviously I’m a smaller, skilled, speed player. I translate really well.

“I like to say I play like Patrick Kane a little bit, but I feel I’m more of a Mat Barzal in how I carve through the neutral zone, lug the puck, and find my teammates. I feel that’s more my game.”

Colorado, which opens the post-season Thursday against the Calgary Flames, acquired its selection from the Ottawa Senators in the trade for Matt Duchene in November 2017.

Ottawa, which finished 31st in the overall standings, could have sent the team’s first pick at last June’s draft to Colorado, but decided instead to keep the selection before drafting winger Brady Tkachuk at No. 4.

The Los Angeles Kings also slid down the board, going from No. 2 to No. 5 while Chicago moved up from the 12th spot to No. 3.

Draft order

   1. New Jersey Devils (11.5%)
   2. N.Y. Rangers (7.5%)
   3. Chicago (2.5%)
   4. Colorado Avalanche (from Ottawa; 18.5%)
   5. Los Angeles Kings (13.5%)
   6. Detroit Red Wings (9.5%)
   7. Buffalo Sabres (8.5%)
   8. Edmonton Oilers (6.5%)
   9. Anaheim Ducks (6%)
   10. Vancouver Canucks (5%)
   11. Philadelphia Flyers (3.5%)
   12. Minnesota Wild (3%)
   13. Florida Panthers (2%)
   14. Arizona Coyotes (1.5%)
   15. Montreal Canadiens (1%)

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