Commissioner’s Mailbag

Glen Hoos




This week we're turning over the Commissioner's Office to Dobber Nation and taking some questions from the readers. Some queries have been edited for brevity. Over to you…


Question from LawMan: Our weekly ESPN head-to-head league has 2 add/drops max per week and 3 goalie starts minimum (Goalie stats are W, GAA and SV%). Our league's rule surrounding goalie starts has always been that if a manager fails to get 3 goalie starts in a week, he forfeits the 3 goalie stats to his opponent. However, since ESPN software does not have a way to automatically control this, the commissioner has to manually alter the standings when this occurs. The dispute in question occurred when 2 managers who were facing each other both failed to get 3 goalie starts in a week, due to injuries and using both their moves early in the week. The managers not involved argued that since both managers failed to get 3 starts, they could not qualify for the points and both should go 0-3-0 (3 losses, 0 points each) for the week in goalie stats. The managers involved argued that on other servers that have automatic minimum start software (such as Yahoo, where our league was previously), when both managers fail to meet the minimum, they are considered tied and therefore both teams go 0-0-3 (3 ties, 3 points each). They argued that giving out 0 points would create a stats imbalance and further, they argued that since this situation had never come up, they should get the benefit of the doubt because creating a rule and applying it after the fact would be unfair. Oh Mighty Commissioner what is your ruling?


I'm a big proponent of thinking through every possible scenario and addressing it in the rulebook ahead of time – hence my league's rulebook that is longer than a Dostoevsky novel. But unless you have a crystal ball, freak unforeseen occurrences like this are bound to crop up occasionally and send the league into a tizzy. That's when the commissioner has to step in with a ruling that is most fair for as many teams as possible.


In this case, I would give each team 3 points (3 ties). As the two managers in question astutely pointed out, giving them both 0 would create an imbalance in which this match-up is worth less in the standings than all other match-ups. I feel the same way about that as I do about the fact that some NHL games count for 2 points and others for 3 – I hate it. A match-up can't have two losers, so saw it off and call it even; there's a reason most other websites do it that way. And whichever way you rule, be sure to update the league rulebook based on this precedent, in case it ever happens again.


Question from Bomb Bastic: I am starting a 12-team dynasty, multi-cat league with