I just checked the NHL All Star Balloting results and found that Sidney Crosby is now in the lead amongst Eastern Conference forwards. In fact, he is leading by over 25,000 votes. WTF?! How in the hell did that happen? Don’t get me wrong, all things being equal I would have suspected that one of the league’s most heralded players would easily be among the top vote-getters. But given the scandalous (yet officially unacknowledged) vote-fixing bot implemented by some geeky, over-zealous Canadiens fan(s), the top-3 prize seemed certain to go to Kovalev, Koivu and Tanguay. So how could it be that Crosby has gained so much ground in such little time?
Could it be that a squad of Penguins’ geeks, or even a rogue acting alone, has hijacked the Canadiens bot-code and done a nifty find-and-replace action? After all, I hear the bot (or “Code de la Botte” as they probably say north of the border) was even posted on the Canadiens message boards for awhile. Could we be beating the Habs fans at their own game? Wouldn’t that just be yet another sign that we American’s continue to live in the greatest country on the face of the Earth? USA! USA! UPDATE: for my Frenchly friends from the far north checking in from your Habs message boards and such…..all satire and no offense intended :).
Perhaps it is something far more sinister…a conspiracy perhaps? Maybe Gary Bettman, while disavowing any knowledge of a bot-compromised balloting system, is secretly correcting the NHL’s error behind the scenes by inflating the votes of the non-Habs. After all, NHL.com came out with a lead article this past Tuesday about how Crosby and Malkin were closing in on the Habs. What a perfect way to cover a conspiracy by leaking a story about a surge of Penguins voting and predicting what is about to happen. That way, we fans could say…yeah, I read that Crosby was surging in the voting. It fits, doesn’t it? According to the article, Crosby had 320,373 votes on Tuesday morning, and Malkin had 264,914. In the 5-days since then, Crosby has gained almost 210,000 votes and Malkin has gained just under 200,000 votes. Impossible? No. Improbable? Yes. Then, as in any good conspiracy, a distracting and unrelated news fiasco. Cue Sean Avery. Yes, Sean Avery’s sloppy seconds comment all timed to cover Gary Bettman’s behind the scenes vote manipulation from behind the grassy knoll. It all fits.
Whatever is happening with the NHL All-Star Balloting, one thing is for sure. As fans, we can have little confidence in the results next month. Maybe next year the NHL will hire the services of someone who is capable of putting up a fan balloting system that is not subject to compromise by any team’s Geek Squad.