Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Predict the NHL season in a contest that’s easy until it isn’t

The NHL season is about to start, and this year features more unknowns than any we’ve ever seen. We’ve got a shortened season in the middle of a pandemic with new divisions and a messed up salary cap. Who knows what might happen?

Well, you do. You always do. Not everything, of course, but some of it. Every year, every hockey fan knows at least a few things that obviously will or won’t happen. You might not be able to predict every playoff team, but you know a few of them, and a few more that definitely won’t make it. Some jobs are completely safe. Some rookies are sure things. We all have our list of obvious calls, every season, and we’re always right.

Except when we’re not. Last year, I thought the Sharks would be contenders, Jack Hughes was a lock to contend for the Calder, and Gerard Gallant had the most secure coaching job in the league. Oops. You probably made a few mistakes too. And then, chances are, you forgot all about them. That’s the beauty of being a fan with a new season on the horizon. We can feel like the questions are way too easy in advance, and then ignore any wrong answers we come up with.

So today, we’re going to get you to put your predictions out there. I’m going to ask you eight questions that, on the surface, should be pretty easy. You tell me what you think the obvious answers are. And then we wait and see who actually got it right. Yes, there will be a prize.

It’s all going to be super easy, because the answers are all so obvious. The only catch: you can’t get any wrong.

Here’s how this will work:

  • For each question, you must post at least one answer or as many as five, or anything in between. It’s up to you.
  • Your first right answer on a given question is worth one point. A second right answer is worth two more points, a third right answer is worth three more, and so on. In other words, getting just one right answer is worth one point, two right answers add up to three (1+2), three right answers is worth six (1+2+3). Four answers gets you ten points, while going five-for-five is worth the maximum score of 15. There’s an incentive here to go for as many answers as you can.
  • But … and this is the big one … having even one wrong answer means you get nothing for that question. Each question is all-or-nothing, meaning going four-for-five is the same as going zero-for-five. So how many answers do you try? Just how confident are you? That’s where the strategy comes in.
  • Make sure to read the questions carefully; if you list a guy who wasn’t eligible, he won’t earn you any points (but won’t negate the rest of your answer).
  • The winner is the person with the most points across all eight questions. Feel free to discuss these wherever you want, tweet at me, or whatever else, but to be eligible to win a prize, you must post your answers in the comments section of this post before 5:30 p.m. ET on January 13. If you change your mind or post multiple answers, your most recent one will be considered your official entry.
  • If the season is cancelled or something happens that makes it impossible to have a winner, well, at least it was a cool idea.

After the first day of 2021 free agency, whenever that is, we’ll look back and figure out who won and laugh at everyone else’s dumb predictions. The winner will earn two signed copies of my book: One for them, and one for a friend or family member which I will sign with whatever you want, including something insulting about their favorite team. Honestly, the second book is a way more valuable prize than the first.

Simple enough. Here come your questions. Remember, this test is so easy that any dummy should be able to ace it … or at least we’ll all feel that way in hindsight.

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