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