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Do You Guys Think This Is Fair?


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As the kings continue their hot streak and get ready to head to western finals with only 1 loss so far in the playoffs, and considering the fact that they were mediocare for most of the season... it reminded me of the Flames of 2004, Oilers of 2006, Canadiens/Flyers of 2010 (just off the top of my head).

Bascially, same formula applies to all:

- mediocare season with highs and lows, but overall not good enough to be one of the top teams over the 82 games, and end up somewhere close to the middle of the pack (6th-8th seed for playoffs)

- team suddenly "click" towards the end of the season, or get a fitting match up (and/or other lucky circumstances like major injuries on opposing team, etc) that ignites them in the first round of the playoffs and gives them confidence.

- team goes a long way in the playoffs (and not win it for the 4 cases I mentioned above)

What I was thinking is that, is this a fair system? I mean it definitely is fun to watch, and I know it's been done this way forever, but just arguing on the fairness of it, is this the fairest system to have teams that basically get hot towards the end of the season would become more successful than teams that have done better than them over the whole season, but aren't "hot" or have major injuries towards the end of the season. (this is NOT a Canucks should have won the cup thread, it's a general, doesn't matter who you're cheering for, thread)

Some similar situations that come to my mind that definitely don't seem "fair" are below:

- Imagine if in a hockey game, the Win was awarded to the team that scored the most goals in only the final 5 minutes of the game (to make it more similar, the team that scores the most goals in the first 55 minutes of the game, gets an offensive face-off to start the final 5 minutes, with the score back to even)

- In some real cases in school, 100% of your mark comes from the final exam, which makes most people don't bother much during the classes, and just pull all-nighters towards the end, and hope that they don't get sick or anything for the one exam that's all important

- Imagine if in a commision-based job, you got paid not based on your sales over the whole year, but only the final month of the year

In all these cases, one is incentivized to just barely get through the first mostly meaningless part and get ready for the short period at the end that only matters, and hope they don't run into any unfortunate circumstances.

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Sure it's fair. It's far better than when we had 16 out of 21 teams make the playoffs.

What's not fair about it? Going into the season every team knows that to compete in the playoffs they need to be in the top 8 of their conference. How teams get to the top 8 is up to them.

Besides, of all the teams you listed as examples that have gone this route, how many won the Stanley Cup?

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But would you guys say the same thing about the 3 examples I mentioned at the end as well? Is it really fair to have the hockey game be decided by its final 5 minutes, student's grade be decided only with the final exam, sales person's commission be decided by his sales only in the last month?

If you could design the system from scratch, would the current system be the fairest one in your opinion?

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But would you guys say the same thing about the 3 examples I mentioned at the end as well? Is it really fair to have the hockey game be decided by its final 5 minutes, student's grade be decided only with the final exam, sales person's commission be decided by his sales only in the last month?

If you could design the system from scratch, would the current system be the fairest one in your opinion?

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It seems as though you are saying that a large sample size is a better indicator of team performance than a small sample size. This is true, but the only way to eliminate the 'hot' team from tearing through the playoffs would be to ward the cup to the Presidents Trophy winner, not exactly very exciting. For that matter, why not award the Cup every 10 years to ensure we are getting the real best team?

Think of it this way, Daniel Sedin has played 859 games with the Canucks, putting up 279 goals and 718 points. He has been consistently good for a long period of time (similar to a team being successful all season). Pavel Bure only played about half the games, 428, but put up 254 goals and 478 points. While it is exciting for fans to see Daniel play well over a long period of time, it was far more exciting (and more an example of high calibre skill) to watch Pavel Bure play ridiculously well over a shorter time. At the end of the day, it is hard to argue Daniel Sedin was a better player, regardless of how much longer he is able to maintain his point production.

Another example is that it is nice to see a guy play consistent enough to score a point almost every game, and end up with 60 points at the end of the year, but it is also nice to see one guy get 5 goals in a game because he has an absolute monster game. In my opinion, the calibre of hockey you will witness in the player having a 5 goal game will be much higher than the calibre you will see watching someone put in a single point every 1-2 games.

So by having a shorter tournament at the end, we get to see higher calibre hockey. Its possible for a team to be hot the whole way through, or perhaps multiple teams, making the calibre of play go up, up, up. This high level of awesome hockey is not possible to sustain over the long haul.

In short, the Presidents Trophy is awarded for consistency, who has the most sustainably skilled team in the league, the Stanley Cup is awarded to the team who pushes how good a hockey team can be the furthest, something that is simply not possible over 82 games. Its a matter of highest ceiling vs most sustainable/reliable, they are simply different types of skills, and one is a whole lot more exciting. You cannot argue what is fair and what is not before clearly defining what we mean by 'best' hockey team, do we mean the team capable of playing the best hockey? or the team that is most consistent?

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If you have to imagine the scenario as you put it, is it really a solid example?

The one scenario that works as an example is the student one, and I totally agree. A student's mark should be 100% determined by the exam. It would be a better measure of what they actually learned instead of how they performed on assignments and participation.

If I was to design the playoff system, about the only thing I would change is I would go back to the old 1st vs 16th system.

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It seems as though you are saying that a large sample size is a better indicator of team performance than a small sample size. This is true, but the only way to eliminate the 'hot' team from tearing through the playoffs would be to ward the cup to the Presidents Trophy winner, not exactly very exciting. For that matter, why not award the Cup every 10 years to ensure we are getting the real best team?

Think of it this way, Daniel Sedin has played 859 games with the Canucks, putting up 279 goals and 718 points. He has been consistently good for a long period of time (similar to a team being successful all season). Pavel Bure only played about half the games, 428, but put up 254 goals and 478 points. While it is exciting for fans to see Daniel play well over a long period of time, it was far more exciting (and more an example of high calibre skill) to watch Pavel Bure play ridiculously well over a shorter time. At the end of the day, it is hard to argue Daniel Sedin was a better player, regardless of how much longer he is able to maintain his point production.

Another example is that it is nice to see a guy play consistent enough to score a point almost every game, and end up with 60 points at the end of the year, but it is also nice to see one guy get 5 goals in a game because he has an absolute monster game. In my opinion, the calibre of hockey you will witness in the player having a 5 goal game will be much higher than the calibre you will see watching someone put in a single point every 1-2 games.

So by having a shorter tournament at the end, we get to see higher calibre hockey. Its possible for a team to be hot the whole way through, or perhaps multiple teams, making the calibre of play go up, up, up. This high level of awesome hockey is not possible to sustain over the long haul.

In short, the Presidents Trophy is awarded for consistency, who has the most sustainably skilled team in the league, the Stanley Cup is awarded to the team who pushes how good a hockey team can be the furthest, something that is simply not possible over 82 games. Its a matter of highest ceiling vs most sustainable/reliable, they are simply different types of skills, and one is a whole lot more exciting. You cannot argue what is fair and what is not before clearly defining what we mean by 'best' hockey team, do we mean the team capable of playing the best hockey? or the team that is most consistent?

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The reason to imagine a situation is to be able to focus on certain flaws without getting distracted with other factors that affect a real situation.

So with that in mind, would you also say it is a fair system if the win in a hockey game was rewarded for the effort put in in the last 5 minutes only?

Also for the student's case, my point exactly is that by relying solely on the performance of the student in the 3 hour session at the end of a whole semester, you're putting way too much weight on a small amount of time, and hence letting "lucky" factors (such as a student getting sick, or having certain students that only studied a part of material get lucky with getting questions more on those parts in the final exam).. and also, what you're deciding is, which student is better able to prepare for an exam over a short period of time and essentially who can game the system better, as opposed to which student has been consistently working hard to learn the material.

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OP, would you say that it's fair in the Tour de France for Lance Armstrong, or any other competitive biker/ swimmer/ runner in qualifying track meet heats, to hold back in the race to conserve energy, so they can make the stretch when it really counts? Similar situation here-- it's a race; each team is like a biker, some have the mentality to race ahead early on so they can get on a roll early and hope to stay competitive, while others, hold back ever so slightly to get the qualification but avoid getting tired out when it really matters, so they can still have enough to muster up an extra gear. Considering how each team has the same start basically, starting from Game 1 through Game 82 and for those who go on later, it's all a matter of strategy and enduring the circumstances.

you said,

is this the fairest system to have teams that basically get hot towards the end of the season would become more successful than teams that have done better than them over the whole season, but aren't "hot" or have major injuries towards the end of the season.

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We do have a league championship (the President's Trophy) and a playoff championship (the Stanley Cup). It just so happens that most the hockey fans regard the Stanley Cup as the more important goal. I am not a soccer guy. What is the difference between that, and the European soccer system?

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OP, would you say that it's fair in the Tour de France for Lance Armstrong, or any other competitive biker/ swimmer/ runner in qualifying track meet heats, to hold back in the race to conserve energy, so they can make the stretch when it really counts? Similar situation here-- it's a race; each team is like a biker, some have the mentality to race ahead early on so they can get on a roll early and hope to stay competitive, while others, hold back ever so slightly to get the qualification but avoid getting tired out when it really matters, so they can still have enough to muster up an extra gear. Considering how each team has the same start basically, starting from Game 1 through Game 82 and for those who go on later, it's all a matter of strategy and enduring the circumstances.

you said,

I think that the perception of "fairness" inevitably includes biases in one's own favor. Circumstances in sports and in life are reality; they happen and all that can really be done is to pull together and try to make the most of the situation. Some get "hot" because they can renew their focus when it really counts (or they "save energy" for later) whereas others burn out because they try too hard early on (though some do manage to go all the way). Either way different strategies each have their own pros and cons.

OP, things like these happen, and that it's not really a matter of fairness but more of misplayed strategy or misfortune. As for injuries, I'm not even sure that you can blame others if it's purely hockey plays (except perhaps the aggressor and start suspending hitters for the duration of their victims' injuries).

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If everyone thought like you (i think?) and me, where winning the league is a big enough achievement to be worthy of celebration on its own and winning the cup would be icing on the cake. Then the current system is fine.

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i feel like we just had this topic a week ago no?

essentially, the cup is more important because it's harder to get. not only do you have to be really good during the season.... you have to be the best during the post season. the hockey playoffs are the best thing on earth. there's no way you can take them away from me.

also, FYI i literally just returned from an exam (constitutional law), that was worth 100% of the grade. and it was no picnic, and i could not have done well (not that i did, mind you), without having worked throughout the year.

it's myth that you can suck throughout the year and somehow win the stanley cup. who did that? some teams had up and downs, some teams were consistently good.

at the end of the day, there's nothing telling you that the canucks are better than the kings, and that's why there's the playoffs. it's always been the system. teams know they have to build for the playoffs. they draft and trade and get players for the regular season and for the playoffs. why do you think teams that are deep win most times? they prepared for the playoffs. fair is fair. no one cares about the P trophy, everyone wants what really matters.

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