The Contrarian – Your Vote Does Not Count

Demetri Fragopoulos

2015-12-20

The fans have spoken. John Scott should be allowed to play in the All-Star Game.

"Your vote does not count" is what Ken Campbell of The Hockey News wants to say about your NHL All-Star ballots. Actually he’s saying that you should not be able to vote at all.

According to him the NHL should come out and say, “Look, you’ve proved time and again that this is a process you refuse to take seriously, so after much reflection, the NHL has decided to take you out of the process.”

Forget about restricting the voting to a select set of players from each division. Forget about restricting how many times you are able to cast a ballot. Just drop the process completely.

There is nothing like telling your fan base that they do not count.

Why is this all happening? Because of John Scott, the current Arizona Coyote, or wait, maybe he is going to be a future Springfield Falcon. It is going to be one or the other as it is very unlikely that any NHL team is going to want him on their roster, even though he is leading the voting for the All-Star Game.

“This is an utter debacle for the league,” claims Campbell.

There have been other players voted in similar circumstances. Yahoo!’s Greg Wyshynski points out that last year it was Zegmus Girgensons. Also, who can forget about Rory Fitzpatrick in 2007?

In an article from Slate.com, Daniel Engber investigated the “Vote for Rory” campaign and balloting. There was a whole lot of hacking and coding going on to inflate Rory’s votes and a possible league embargo on some last-minute ballots.

Is this is case now?

I attempted to enter my vote, but before I could submit it I had to sign in to the NHL site. No account meant no vote for me, but if I did sign up I could enter a ballot up to 10 times each day. How ridiculous! I suspect that the motivation for someone to do so is to win one of the prizes.

While Wyshynski wonders why the league does not display or announce the totals for each player, and Campbell considers alternative voting systems and how the sponsor of the game would be affected if voting process was thrown out altogether, no one is talking about why the fans are voting for John Scott.

You can set up a system where there are no write-ins, but that only means fans will pick the lesser of whoever is available to be selected. The heart of the matter is why would they do such a thing?

For all practical purposes, a vote is a vote for winning one of the prizes. But I doubt that the people who are voting for Scott care about going to see him play at the All-Star Game or about a $250 gift card to be used at the NHL’s online store.

Returning to Campbell, he writes “all-star games are the biggest who cares of the season and have no lasting impact or any tangible effect on the league’s operations. They are essentially a showcase for sponsors and an opportunity to break up the season with a little fun. No harm, no foul.”

If it is a big much ado about nothing, then why care who has the most votes?

Continuing, “What you shouldn’t have to live with as a league is a portion of the fan base that thumbs its nose at you and makes an entire sham of the process. Whether they’re poking fun at the NHL, at John Scott, or at themselves is irrelevant.”

No, it is not irrelevant, and these are the league’s fans. Like it or not, they are just as important as the ones voting in the traditional manner.

When one imagines the type of person who is burning their vote, you might think of a computer nerd or hacker who simply wants to be an anarchist.

Not so in this case. Not if each person has to create an account and sign in to vote, be it ten times a day, twice a week, or once during the complete balloting period.

Campbell is wrong to ignore or push these fans aside.

There is something wrong with the All-Star product. Gimmick with it all you want. It is not as enjoyable as it once was. When they had something that was fun like the player draft, they scrapped it.

This event is not meant to be serious, and neither should be the voting for it.

One thing is for certain: If you take away the vote you will lose touch with the fans and they will eventually walk away.

Even though they are voicing their displeasure, they are still connected and committed. They feel they have a stake, even if it is a small one. Do not take that away from them or from us.

Everyone’s vote matters.

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