No Such Nonsense

A little of this, that and... what was I talking about again? It's TV, sports, pop culture and politics - all the stuff that really matters in life.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Shady Doings in the NHL?

I'm no big fan of all-star games. I'm sure it's nice to be recognized - whether by fans or sportswriters or the coaches or whatever - as one of the best in your sport in a given season. But the games are always totally boring; there's no hitting, no edge, no real reason to play. Does any kid really grow up dreaming of scoring the winning goal in an all-star game?

Then there's the voting. All-star games are the ultimate popularity contest. Fans vote not for the best player at a position but for their favourite player. So when an American hockey fan started an online campaign to get folks to vote journeyman defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick into the NHL all-star game, I admit I thought it was a funny idea. I was certainly not all that concerned about the integrity of the event - the event has no integrity to begin with. Before long, the Vote for Rory campaign had t-shirts, YouTube videos and all that. It all seemed like harmless fun.

The campaign got a lot of press - and the NHL all-star game got more buzz than its had in years - especially after Rory moved up to number 2 in the voting ranks for his conference. It seemed he might actually make the team. Another fan released a Rory vote-o-matic that allowed fans to vote for Rory over and over again at the click of a button. It looked like Rory was a lock, and pundits came out of the woodwork decrying the idea - sanctity of the game and all that. Then, Rory's voting numbers dropped dramatically. He fell off the top of list and out of contention. His legions of online fans, it seemed, had deserted him.

Or so the NHL would like you to believe.

Turns out, it looks an awful lot like the NHL rigged the outcome to keep Rory on the bench. At least, that's what the folks at Slate magazine are saying.

C'mon. Gary Bettman screwing over a bunch of hockey fans? That would so never happen.


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