Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Hope and Expectations

Allan K. Chalmers:
The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.

Friedrich Nietzsche:
Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torments of man.

This is a strange October to my mind. I've never seen an Oilers season start with fan expectation so far apart from the regular season points line from the bookies. I've posted messageboard preseason polls on this issue for yonks, and annually Oiler fandom seems to be fairly consistently a couple to a few points higher than the over/under. Myself included.

This season it's off the map. The spread is far wider, there just isn't much in the way of fan concensus. And the average expectation is north of 90 points., with a whack of fans expecting a hell of a lot more than that. Even that average is a whopping 15 points OVER the 76 points from the bookies. (75.5 and 76.5 are the only levels I've seen anybody taking wagers on, and they're probably being generous, because even at that level they'll draw almost all of the action on the 'over', i.e. the bookies will lose money if the Oilers manage to better 76 points)

Last season, the Oilers were pegging towards 86 points on the day they dealt Smyth (iirc 66 points in 63 games). The preseason over/under was 88.5. For the three years previous to that, here are the oddsmaker's over/under and the actual points that the Oilers ended up with:

2002-2003 (90.0) 89
2003-2004 (91.5) 92
2005-2006 (94.5) 95

And Oiler fan expectations were within spitting distance of the over/unders AND the actual results at the end of the year. But this year ... not so much. Personally I'm hoping for the best from the Oilers, and I wish I could will myself to actually expect something over 80 points from this crew, but it ain't easy.

My point, and I do have one:
I think Kevin Lowe is Sonny Corleone in Lowetide's analogy. Because failing is bad, but falling a mile short of expectations is a killer.


Blogger Lowetide said...

Except Lowe isn't Sonny because it appears (amazingly) there is no chance he'll be fired. I think Sonny was Ryan Smyth last year, Dwayne Roloson this.

Lowe is Michael sometimes, Fredo others. We've had Fredo since G7SCF, and he's not on the water and he's not fishing and he's not saying the rosary.

10/03/2007 6:10 pm  
Blogger voxel said...

How wrong were the bookies last year then? 88.5 vs. 71?

I think 84-89 pts is very reasonable this year with a healthy crew. Tonight will be a good barometer on the suckage.

10/04/2007 4:14 am  
Blogger Devin said...

voxel - in the Central we could have 85-90 pts, heck in the Southeast we'd probably be a playoff team. In the NW- I just don't see how we can win enough games to get to .500.

I know you're not one of the mouthbreathers on HF, but I'd love to challenge those types to break down the Oilers record (as they see it) against the NW + DET, SJ, ANA, then arrive at 90+ pts for EDM. There are too many hard games ahead folks.

(here's hoping Souray scored 2 PPGs tonight and they edge the Sharks 4-3) :)

10/04/2007 12:12 pm  
Blogger godot10 said...

90 points with OT losses is .500.

Fans have to have hope and optimism at the beginning of a season. There is enough time for woe when things begin to go wrong.

In a war, one has to worry and prepare for what might go wrong. At the beginning of a sports season, a fan is going to anticipate and prepare for what might go right.

If the Oilers young players play well, 90 points is NOT a ridiculous hope.

There is enough time for realism in December.

10/04/2007 12:29 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


That's a fair comment, but not everybody is inclined just to root for the home team and look the other way on a few things. If you are, then good for you, that's perfectly sensible.

But the Oilogosphere, the people who blog and the dozens of people who really add value with reasoned comments. Well pretty clearly this is a bunch of people who take this hobby more seriously than that. Lots of people have hobbies that are even more stupid, so I'm not going to apologize.

Still, asking people in this forum to "just ignore the Oiler's problems" ... that's not going to fly.

10/04/2007 2:04 pm  
Blogger Devin said...


Word. In fairness to the optimists, you never know when a team is going to go 13-1 in shooutouts or something (never? lol).

Vic, have you ever given any serious thought to putting more time into the stats and strategy stuff and starting a consultancy for NHL teams? You'd think it was something that is done en masse, but judging by most GMs, I doubt it. I run an internet company for a living - I know how to do this stuff, and I've always meant to ask you if you're involved in a commercial way like that (and if you ever wanted to be). Your timeonice stuff and generally your commentary is just outstanding.

10/04/2007 4:28 pm  
Blogger godot10 said...

Me (last October): //If the Oilers young players play well, 90 points is NOT a ridiculous hope.//

Not bad.

Devin is even better (last October):
//In fairness to the optimists, you never know when a team is going to go 13-1 in shooutouts or something (never? lol).//

4/08/2008 11:51 am  

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