Lost in Translation

I write this post pretty much every year and really should begin the series with it. Reasonable expectations seems like a pretty clear goal. Pull back the bias, the performances in short tournaments, the huge moments (good or bad) that might sway the view.

We have to be able to agree that reasonable expectations are right in the middle, halfway between “he’s been in a car accident” and “that’s Warren Young with his 40th of the season.”

In the last two posts (below) the comments section if full of discussions about exactly what reasonable means in terms of projecting the Edmonton Oilers. I thought it might be an idea (probably a bad one) to give you some insight into the process behind my reasonable expectations series.

Most of this stuff is pretty obvious: I take a three year average, account for age, injury and opportunity, then throw in Desjardins number where needed and then stare at the number for a time to see if it fits. That’s it, that’s all.

Except. Except that hockey is like baseball (“oh here we go”) in that one team can do more with 27 outs than another team. When I make a note about a player in terms of their “time on ice” it is used like an at-bat (or to be more precise a plate appearance); some teams are going to have many more appearances at the plate per 27 outs than other teams. Make sense? They’re in the offensive scoring zone miles longer than a weaker team.

It is identical in hockey, although our methods of measurement are far less precise than baseball (the ultimate math game). When considering the current Edmonton Oilers, we must let more air out of the tires in terms of offensive sorties because they won’t have the puck as much as the other team most nights. I know, Tom Renney is coach but this isn’t going to be an easy season for him. Just as many had a different view of MacT this spring, Oiler fans could look back wistfully at the coaching year of Pat Quinn next summer.

The idea of reasonable expectations isn’t to pick favourites or push some obscure agenda, it is genuine attempt to find the reasonable expectation. If your player does better than expected, we can be more certain the player delivered a quality season.

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