Sports writers love the cliched and the inane, and the NHL lockout has given them a cornucopia of delights. Of those delights, one is being used, nay abused, by nearly all of them. “In a 48 game season, every game matters/counts.” And fans love the narrative. Don’t believe me? Check out Twitter. Though, to be fair, only about half of those tweets are from fans – the rest are sports writers. Check the news.
Apparently, this season, each win is worth more than normal, and each team has to focus early and drive hard through the end of the season and capture these meaningful games. Watch this fancy math:
Total games in a shortened season * points per win = possible points
48*2 = 96
Compare that to:
Possible points in a regular season / games = points per win
164/82 = 2
What does it all mean?
Therefore 2 = 2
The idea that early season games don’t matter, that only games near the end of the season in the midst of a playoff race matter has been a core tenet of the Oilers’ philosophy since the lockout. Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini experiment and play with their rosters early in the season, typically at the expense of points, ostensibly because the games don’t matter, then scramble around after that trying to fill roster holes.
Judging by the mass of conversation about the importance of every game, those two are not alone in their understanding of math.
We await the cliches and bad math from week one of the season.