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Friday, November 14, 2008

NHL Investigates Montreal Canadiens All-Star Voting Methods

The Montreal Canadiens lead in all categories in NHL All-Star Voting
PenguinsExperience is leading a boycott of the NHL All-Star Game. More details are available here.

As mentioned here yesterday, Montreal Canadiens' fans on the team's official message board created and used javascript to repeatedly vote for Habs' players. Canadiens' players currently lead every All-Star category in the Eastern Conference.

Now the NHL is investigating the results.

NHL spokesman Gary Meaghar told the CBC that while he doesn't "want to jump to conclusions at this point... there is some indication that something has happened." He could not, however, definitively say if anything out of the ordinary had taken place.

There really isn't much the NHL can do now. They created a poorly-designed website that was quite easily exploited. Since the controversy took place they have added a captcha to the ballot to prevent automated voting. I personally can not believe that they did not have one on there earlier. Captchas are quite standard on almost all web forms these days. All adding one will do at this point is ensure that no one can catch up to the Canadiens' players.

I don't believe that the NHL will take the votes away. Firstly, how would they be able to prove that they have only eliminated the suspicious votes? Habs fans would not stand for the votes disappearing anymore than they stood for Rocket Richard being suspended. They would riot like they just won a first round playoff series against a low-ranked opponent.

Was it wrong for Habs fans to exploit the flaw in the NHL site? Possibly, but in reality the site was (and still is) so badly designed that it was just begging for someone to mess with it. Besides, this controversy gives the NHL All-Star voting (and the game) some much needed publicity. Plus, when the starting line-up is made entirely of Canadiens it will be an interesting angle for the NHL to market. The All-Habs game, if you will.

It is somewhat ridiculous that the NHL and whoever designed the site didn't notice how easy it would be to exploit. It's not like it took rocket science. If you search for "NHL All-Star voting script" on Google right now you will find not only the Habs script but scripts for the Flames, Kings and numerous other teams. Clearly it wasn't a difficult code to crack.

And, please, don't waste your votes on Gonchar and Whitney who will not be able to play in the game. Write in Orpik and Scuderi (or any other Penguins' defensemen) instead.

Boycott the NHL All-Star Game

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