Sunday, October 10, 2021

Predict the NHL season with the return of the contest that’s so easy it’s almost impossible

With opening night almost here, you’ve probably had your fill of predictions, projections and prognostication. After wading through all of the hockey world’s best efforts to figure out what’s going to happen, you know that some things are completely up in the air, while others are absolutely obvious.

OK, but how obvious?

That’s the point of this prediction contest, making its second appearance after last year’s unexpectedly popular debut. The idea is simple – I ask you some very easy questions, and you give me the very obvious answers. The more answers you give, the more points you’re playing for. Then we wait and see how it all plays out, and find out if any of those easy questions turned out not to have such obvious answers after all.

Last year, everyone was pretty good at picking which teams would and wouldn’t make the playoffs, as long as you weren’t all-in on the Flyers. But we weren’t very good at picking workhorse goalies or MVP candidates, and almost all of us knew that Alexis Lafreniere was an absolute slam dunk Calder favorite. Oops. Sometimes this stuff is harder than it looks. And of course, that’s the whole point.

If you played last year, you have a pretty good idea how this works (although a few things have been tweaked, including the date cutoffs for the coach and GM questions, and there’s a major new wrinkle, so read carefully). If you’re new, you may want to spend a few minutes checking the results of last year’s contest, which will give you an idea of how this works and what sort of strategies are in play.

The rules

  • This year features nine questions, plus one bonus which we’ll get to in a minute. For each of the nine regular questions, you can give a minimum of one answer and a maximum of five. That part’s up to you.
  • For each question, you get one point for your first right answer, two points for the second (for a total of three), and so on up to a maximum of fifteen points if you run the table with five correct answers. More right answers, more points.
  • But, and this is the key, even one wrong answer gives you a zero for the entire question. Going one-for-one for a single point is better than four-for-five and taking a zero, so just how confident do you want to be?
  • The deadline for entries is 7:30 PM ET on October 12. The winner gets signed copies of my book and (far more importantly) bragging rights for the year, and is the entry that racks up the most total points. Note that this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get points on every answer. Last year, there was just one perfect entry, and it didn’t end up winning because it played it a little too safe and didn’t bank enough points. There’s a balance here between aggression and safety, and it’s up to you to find it.
  • Finally, the new bonus question. This one is completely optional, and you’re free to leave it blank. If you choose to answer, you’ll give one and only one response, and earn 15 bonus points if you’re right. But if you’re wrong, you’ll receive a zero for your entire entry. Not just the question – your whole entry is wiped out.

Are you willing to risk it all on the bonus? Can you score enough points to win if you don’t? Will the bonus question even have a right answer? I’m not actually sure, which is what should make this interesting.

>> Read the full post at The Athletic

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