The Spin - The Expected Result
Who knows? An arbitrator could, theoretically, shock the hockey world today. But most don't expect that to happen, and instead it's likely Ilya Kovalchuk will officially become a New Jersey Devil, with his controversial 17-year, $102 million deal approved.
I just (think I) realized something. If you predict the arbitration is almost certainly going to go in the union's favor, then if it doesn't, you get to run with the "shocking development" story, which of course is much sexier than "this is how the coin toss went" story. Whereas, if you predict a victory for the league, and that actually happens, your follow-up coverage might be seen as gloating, but regardless it's just more of the same (e.g. "I said this was going to happen and it did happen" -- as a narrative, that lacks the twists and turns we like in our dramas). I'm not suggesting that people are keeping their real expectations to themselves, but I do think the media as a whole (and without even needing to plan it or think about it) naturally tends toward a prediction of the most exciting story.
I half-disagree with myself. But there's a real idea in there somewhere.
Okay, how about this: it's better drama to say x is absolutely going to happen or is guaranteed not to happen, because even if you're wrong, then you've got yourself an exciting turn of events, even if that turn is just how wrong everyone was.