Friday, October 6, 2023

Make your picks for the prediction contest that's so easy it's almost impossible

It’s easy to look like a genius when you predict the NHL season. Just focus on the obvious, lay out everything that you know is going to happen, and feel confident in your unshakeable wisdom. And then – and this is the important part – don’t leave a public record anywhere, so nobody can look back in a few months and see how wrong you actually were.

That’s where this contest comes in. A few years ago, I got tired of everyone telling me how predictable the NHL was. Something would happen that I thought was unexpected, like the Golden Knights being good in year one, or the Sharks collapsing, or Barry Trtoz getting the Islanders into the playoffs. I’d express my surprise, and I’d inevitably hear from all sorts of fans who’d scoff. It was obvious all along, they’d tell me. And everyone with half a brain knew it.

OK, I finally said – prove it. And after a little bit of tinkering, my annual prediction contest was born. The premise was simple: Since the league is so easy to predict, I’d ask you some of the most basic questions imaginable. Nothing fancy or especially complicated. Just which teams would be good or bad, which coaches and GMs were on safe ground, and which players would be the stars of the season. If the prediction business was as easy as everyone said, you guys would crush it.

Gentle readers, you have not crushed it.

In three years, the contest has grown from 800 entries to 1,600 to last year’s 2,1000. And nobody has come close to an especially great score. Only a small handful have even managed a passing grade. You can check in on last year’s results here, when it turned out that you didn’t believe in the Kraken, you did believe in Darryl Sutter, and literally nobody thought old man Erik Karlsson was a Norris candidate. Like I said, not so simple… at least when someone is keeping track.

This year, we’ve got all the old classic questions returning, plus a brand new one that shines a spotlight on the middle-of-the-pack. And yes, the dreaded bonus question is back too. As always, the winner gets a signed copy of my book, plus the (infinitely more valuable) bragging rights that you actually called your shots.

Good luck. History says you’re going to need it.

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