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Monday, January 15, 2007

All Star Voting Scandal

The MC79 blog has a fairly detailed expose of the scandal that has enveloped the All Star balloting. (http://www.mc79hockey.com/index.html )

Rory supporters created bots that would repeatedly cast internet ballots for Rory Fitzpatrick. I have nothing against Rory, but he should only get the votes of people who are willing to take time out of their lives to bother voting themselves--votes generated by a computer program shouldn't count in my view.

This year all balloting was done via the internet and you had to fill out a complete ballot to cast your vote. So fans for Rory couldn't just log on and keep casting votes for him alone, they had to make selections for the 3 Eastern Forward positions, 2 Eastern Defensemen and 1 Eastern Goalie and so on.

Here is where things go awry. The NHL wanted to eliminate the influence of those bot generated votes for Rory, but instead of tossing all the bot ballots they appear to simply deleted the votes for Rory--AND COUNTED ALL THE BOT VOTES FOR THE OTHER POSITIONS!

How do we know that this happened? Well there are a huge number of missing votes from the West Defense position--which should not happen because you had to make a selection for every position in order to vote.

So it appears that the NHL has tossed out the bot votes for Rory but left all the other bot selections for the other All-Star positions. Talk about an injustice--why should those bot votes for Rory not count while bot votes for Hannan do count?

The precise impact of the bots on the other positions is hard to pin down, but it appears that SJS Defenseman Hannan and Hurricanes Center Brind'Amour were primary beneficaries because they saw very sudden and hard to explain spikes in the number of votes they received. It is possible that the bot voting reduced the chances of Hossa, Kovalchuk and Lehtonen from making the All-Star team if they were not on the list of bots. (Disclaimer: I have not tried to do any analysis of this question, but it may have had an effect.)

This whole thing has become a huge joke now. We can't be sure which (if any) starters owe their positions to bot voting or actual human NHL fans.

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