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AV and Cognitive Bias-by Jeff Angus


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#1 Edler's Mind Tricks

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 11:14 PM

I am currently reading a book about risk and fear by Dan Gardner and it touches upon these subjects. I'd recommend that book and Thinking Fast and Slow for anyone interested in this subject... Anyways, here is the article from Angus (one of my favorite Canucks writers and insiders):
http://www.anguscert...lain-vigneault/


Alain Vigneault and Cognitive Biases
Posted on June 9, 2012


Alain Vigneault is far from perfect. He has angered past (Cody Hodgson) and present (Ryan Kesler) Canucks with his comments on injuries and injury recovery. He incorrectly assumed Daniel Sedin’s concussion was minor (let’s remove ‘minor concussions’ from our vocabulary while we’re at it), failing to plan for a postseason without Daniel.

His biggest mistake may have been keeping Roberto Luongo in goal too long in any of the three games in Boston last June, but game three especially.

Vigneault is an innovator, and has been a successful regular season coach with the Canucks, winning five division titles in his six seasons, including two Presidents’ Trophies as the league’s best team.

His postseason record isn’t as stellar – in 11 playoff rounds behind the Vancouver bench, Vigneault holds a 6-5 record. Thomas Drance took this to task back in April, breaking down Vigneault’s postseason coaching history in Vancouver.

The players, for the most part, like playing for him. Vigneault demands effort and consistency, but he allows the players the luxury of running the dressing room, something many other coaches around the league do not. He plays favorites, just like every coach in the history of every sport. However, he doesn’t award ice time based on a player’s pedigree, contract status, or favorite colour. He rewards performance.

After the Canucks were bounced in the first round by the Los Angeles Kings a few months ago, members of the local media (without naming names) clamored for a coaching change. Many in the fan base got behind the movement.

Why, exactly, would people want the Canucks to fire the most successful coach in the history of the franchise? Let’s use some well-known cognitive biases to explain.

AVAILABILITY HEURISTIC/RECENCY EFFECT

‘There are two biases that come from the availability heuristic: Ease of recall and retrievability.’

The ability to recall recent events more clearly than past events is universal. You are more likely to remember the score of a game played yesterday than one a few years ago (June 14, 1994 notwithstanding), just as you are more likely to remember the performance of a player from this season compared to four seasons ago. Dustin Brown is the current golden boy of hockey, but only a few months ago he was on the trading block as the Kings were looking to shake things up.

Three years ago, Alex Ovechkin was projected to approach Wayne Gretzky’s untouchable scoring records. Now, Ovechkin is playing a lesser role for the Capitals than teammates like Jay Beagle and Matt Hendricks (although with Dale Hunter out in Washington I wouldn’t expect it to continue).

The disappointing end to the 2011-12 season for Vancouver is still fresh in the minds of many, and Vigneault’s past successes (one win from hoisting the Stanley Cup, multiple division titles) are quickly overlooked. Coaching is a “what have you done for me lately” profession, but poor decisions get made when people shrink their window of analysis to include only recent events.

FOCUSING EFFECT

The focusing effect is a bias that occurs when people place too much emphasis on one single event or situation when making a decision. With Vigneault, people tend to focus on his usage of Aaron Rome or Keith Ballard, all the while ignoring the fact that he has played a large part in the progression of the Sedins from stars to superstars, as well as the development of Alex Burrows, Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa, Jannik Hansen, Max Lapierre, and so on. Vigneault doesn’t overplay his star players, and he has done a terrific job employing a strategy to maximize the offensive return from his scorers and the defensive return from his checkers.

Vigneault, still thought of as many as a defensive coach, has led teams that have finished 4 th, 1st, and 2nd in goals for over the past three seasons, respectively.

AFFECT HEURISTIC

‘It is an unconscious bias that shortens the decision-making process and allows people to function without having to complete an extensive search for information. It is shorter in duration than a mood, occurring rapidly and involuntarily in response to a stimulus.’

Stimulus = Canucks loss. Result = Fire Vigneault. People who rely too much on emotions in their decision making (i.e. the Vancouver fan base) are guilty of falling into this trap. Rationality wins out most of the time, and thankfully Mike Gillis is patient and calculating with his decision- making (i.e. not Mike Milbury).

Vigneault isn’t trying to sabotage Vancouver’s chances to win by playing Rome, Dale Wiese, or not playing Hodgson or Ballard. In fact, he could be credited with putting Hodgson in a role to succeed, allowing the Canucks to ‘sell high’ on him. The question of if they really did ‘sell high’ is an entirely different issue.

Look at the prospects that have come through the Vancouver system since Vigneault took over. Grabner was on his way to become a top six scorer, and the team was able to build an enticing trade package around him. Hodgson went from a prospect with severe question marks to a Calder contender. Chris Tanev looks ready to play a regular shift in the NHL, and Alex Edler is one of the better young two-way defenders in the game. One could make the argument that the only skilled prospect not to succeed under Vigneault has been Sergei Shirokov.

Vigneault has also done a masterful job managing the ice time of his two goaltenders (it helps that Cory Schneider has shown tremendous professionalism and patience over the past two years).

 BANDWAGON EFFECT

‘It has to do with certainty, and the odds of your own judgment being challenged. If you don’t have a strong preference for a particular thing, it is easier to agree with the majority than it is to disagree. Disagreement usually requires a solid stance to support your side. The more people on the bandwagon, the more solid your argument about why you’re not on it has to be.’

Yep, the dreaded “b” word. The term bandwagon is all too common in sports – the more people get behind a team, a player, or an idea, the more momentum it builds. The “fire Vigneault” bandwagon seems to have collected speed every time the Canucks have lost over the past year or two, just as it seems to slow down when the team wins (which has happened a lot).

Thankfully, we have fantastic blogs covering the Canucks that are able to provide well-thought-out arguments on the topic of Vigneault’s coaching.

CONFIRMATION BIAS

‘This is our uncanny tendency to search for, or interpret, information that agrees with our preconceptions. For example, if you suspect that a certain person is a certain way (whether it be evil, lazy, or perfect), you will tend to notice and interpret that person’s behaviors in such a way that support your belief.’

Vigneault didn’t play Rome over Ballard because he hated Ballard. He played Rome over Ballard becauseRome was more effective in that role. He didn’t increase Hodgson’s even strength ice time because he was a defensive liability.

The purpose of this column wasn’t to slam all of Vigneault’s critics. Many of them have raised valid points. And I’d be just as guilty as following the pro-Vigneault bandwagon if I didn’t believe there were some negative points in his coaching tenure. A few well-known cognitive biases can explain why you may feel a certain way without even knowing it.

For more on the topic, I’d highly recommend reading Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer.

 

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Hockey Management Intern for UBC Thunderbirds.
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Designing a UBC Hockey Management Degree.


#2 Tig'ol Bitties

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 11:19 PM

I didn't read it all, but I think AV is a good coach who deserves a couple more years. If by the end of the next two we're not seeing any results - then it's time for him to go.

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#3 linden17

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 11:41 PM

LOVED THIS READ. HAS ME THINKING A TON.

#4 Sick Hands

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 11:52 PM

TLDR but when it comes down to it.

AV chokes in the playoffs and this team needs someone to jumpstart them and act like a leader when they are tail spining.

Instead of making adjustments during the game, he just lets the "guys figure it out"....

Sorry but AV should have been fired.

A Toast to Aquillini for getting Torterella.

An owner who knows what the people want.

That's entertainment.


#5 kacholu

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 11:52 PM

You don't need science to realize AV is a great coach. No one denies he is a great regular season coach. The only problem with AV most people have is the fact he can't adjust within games, can't manage timeouts, plays heavy favorites, throws players under the bus, criticizes injured players, over plays injured players, doesn't do anything once the other coach has figured his system out, messes up the prospects development and some others. Besides that he is good as gold.

Edited by kacholu, 13 June 2012 - 11:53 PM.


#6 Bodee

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:22 AM

Good post...........and I DID read it all.

It stands to reason, for me at any rate that AV and MG are evolving their ideas and a SC will eventually come here. You can't do that if you don't have a coach of the highest standard. (and of course a talented and patient GM)

Sir Alex Ferguson comes to mind. He had a Chairman who stuck with him because Ferguson had shown he knew how to be successful and eventually it led to honour after honour.
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#7 Puck'nAnimal

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:42 AM

The players, for the most part, like playing for him. Vigneault demands effort and consistency, but he allows the players the luxury of running the dressing room, something many other coaches around the league do not. He plays favorites, just like every coach in the history of every sport. However, he doesn't award ice time based on a player's pedigree, contract status, or favorite colour. He rewards performance.


Team GP G A P +/- PIM PP SH GW S S%
Canucks 43 4 6 10 -4 46 1 0 1 42 9.5 - Aaron Rome's Stats for 2011-2012

Dan Gardner - Explain please?

Edited by Puck'nAnimal, 14 June 2012 - 12:44 AM.


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#8 Pineapples

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:13 AM

Good post OP! and I did read it all.

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#9 Wonderine

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:23 AM

AV is where he is because he is a players coach plain and simple. He gets results from players that others have left out or felt were done(Burr and Max to name a few). AV is still our future.

Enough with the CODHOG comments too, AV was not the issue CODHOG was and obviously will continue to be were ever he is.

:canucks: NUFF SAID :canucks:

#10 Hugh Chardon

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:43 AM

Yes, but how do they get the caramilk in the caramilk bar?

#11 kmotamed

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 02:53 AM

FOR THE LAST TIME... It is NOT Luongo's fault we lost to the Bruins. The rest of the team was battered and bruised, and could not produce offensively. How long does one need to hold down the fort with no support in front of him. The D was terrible during that time as well.

Have some appreciation for the greatness of Lu before people like you drive him out of town and we REALLY regret it.

#12 Mr.DirtyDangles

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 03:08 AM

No secret I am an AV supporter . This is an excellent read btw. I personally cannot get over the Canucks fan base it is clearly certifiable :frantic: The best coach in franchise history, back 2 back Art Ross winners and Presidents trophies not to mention shaping and molding of players into solid performers. The entire league hates us because we are so good and everyone wants to axe AV ? Would any management fire a guy that has brought a franchise these kind of results. All we need is patience and clear heads to realize this team is and will be dominant for a few more seasons if we stay the course. I ask all the haters would you rather have a coach like Tortarella or say Wilson for that matter? What a gong show that would be :sick:

Edited by vanfan73, 14 June 2012 - 03:11 AM.

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On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami :ph34r:


#13 Riviera82

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 06:12 AM

FOR THE LAST TIME... It is NOT Luongo's fault we lost to the Bruins. The rest of the team was battered and bruised, and could not produce offensively. How long does one need to hold down the fort with no support in front of him. The D was terrible during that time as well.

Have some appreciation for the greatness of Lu before people like you drive him out of town and we REALLY regret it.


This statement is absolutely correct!!
We should have scored 9 goals in game 3, 5 goals in game 4, 6 goals in game 6, and 4 goals in game 7 against Boston!!

#14 Riviera82

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 06:14 AM

No secret I am an AV supporter . This is an excellent read btw. I personally cannot get over the Canucks fan base it is clearly certifiable :frantic: The best coach in franchise history, back 2 back Art Ross winners and Presidents trophies not to mention shaping and molding of players into solid performers. The entire league hates us because we are so good and everyone wants to axe AV ? Would any management fire a guy that has brought a franchise these kind of results. All we need is patience and clear heads to realize this team is and will be dominant for a few more seasons if we stay the course. I ask all the haters would you rather have a coach like Tortarella or say Wilson for that matter? What a gong show that would be :sick:


This team is dominant during the regular season, not yet during the playoffs.

#15 nucks4sure

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 06:57 AM

I'll simplify this.LA makes a coaching change in December and win the cup.Jersy gets a new coach to start the season and goes to the final.Like a horse race you can go into it with the favored horse but the eventual winner has changed their rider 2 races before the Kentucky Derby.Having one of the best of anything doesn't always guarantee success.History is the only true evaluation of an outcome that there is.Av hasn't really learned from his playoff mistakes.Letting the players sort things out in the dressing room ,giving them control seems strange to me.They need a coach to lead as apparent by whatever team has won the cup other than the Canucks.2 straight playoffs with a rediculously lousy powerplay.History has shown me this team needs a new rider for a pretty good horse.

#16 keslerian one

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:07 AM

Angus has great stuff all the time - enjoy his stuff at canucksarmy.com, dobberhockey.com or anguscertified.com.

#17 RUPERTKBD

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:11 AM

Nice to see an article that spells thing out for the AV bashers, This paragraph is especially apropos, I thought:

Vigneault didn’t play Rome over Ballard because he hated Ballard. He played Rome over Ballard because Rome was more effective in that role. He didn’t increase Hodgson’s even strength ice time because he was a defensive liability.


Unfortunately, from reading the posts in this thread, it looks like the logic has escaped many posters. Just more of the same tired, inaccurate garbage that we've been seeing for too long around here. I half expect to see someone claim that "AV can't coach offense"....
Orland Kurtenbach and Dennis Kearns had just been torched 8-1 by the Habs, but they still took time to come out to meet us, some fellow BC boys who were playing hockey in Montreal. THAT"S what being a Canuck is!

#18 Macethan

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:33 AM

Montreal would snatch AV right away if he was released by the Canucks this season. Honestly, any better candidate out there? MacTavish: his loyalty is with Edmonton. Bob Hartley? Paul Maurice? Marc Crawford anyone? Or perhaps Michel Therrien? :P Oh I forgot, Brent Sutter just left Calgary -_-

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#19 Vansicle

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 08:24 AM

"The purpose of this column wasn’t to slam all of Vigneault’s critics. Many of them have raised valid points. And I’d be just as guilty as following the pro-Vigneault bandwagon if I didn’t believe there were some negative points in his coaching tenure. A few well-known cognitive biases can explain why you may feel a certain way without even knowing it."

What the author of this article intends to illustrate is that both sides of any argument fall victim to these psychological phenomena, which is only further illustrated when either side points to this article and says "see, AV is awesome", or "see, AV blows."
The point is lost if you use these examples as proof that you are right. Both sides have valid arguments. Plain and simple.

Snake Doctor, on 23 May 2014 - 10:41 AM, said:snapback.png

Miller is not on our list. It's Lack as our #1. There is no reason we would have traded both Schnieder and Luongo if we never intended to give Lack the #1 starting job.  Furthermore, the salary and term Miller is looking for is not in our favor.

 


#20 Kryten

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 09:09 AM

"The purpose of this column wasn’t to slam all of Vigneault’s critics. Many of them have raised valid points. And I’d be just as guilty as following the pro-Vigneault bandwagon if I didn’t believe there were some negative points in his coaching tenure. A few well-known cognitive biases can explain why you may feel a certain way without even knowing it."

What the author of this article intends to illustrate is that both sides of any argument fall victim to these psychological phenomena, which is only further illustrated when either side points to this article and says "see, AV is awesome", or "see, AV blows."
The point is lost if you use these examples as proof that you are right. Both sides have valid arguments. Plain and simple.


Thank you again Vansicle, good to see you also saw through the ruse. I wonder if he realizes his post is hypocritical.

Wait a second. Oh no! I'm falling victim to bandowagoning and confirmation bias!! I have no original thoughts and all of my opinions are baseless! If only I had some psychobabble to throw around that justifies my thoughts and actions, looks like I need to take a trip to the library.

Edited by Kryten, 14 June 2012 - 09:10 AM.

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#21 komodo1970

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 09:57 AM

I agree with those that say AV is a great regular season coach. He's great at getting his team to stick to a specific system. The only problem he seems to have is adjusting his team to playoff hockey. Playing the same team for up to seven games is a lot different than seeing them on a few spread out occasions through out an 82 game season. In a seven game series, there are gonna have to be adjustments made. Sometimes systems have to go out the window and tailoring the teams game to counter the oppositions strengths become more prevalent. He has to be able to raise his teams performance and resolve. Through out the series against LA, I felt they were too soft and not very determined. Yes they ran into a goaltender that was making incredible save after incredible save, but they allowed themselves to be boxed out when rebounds were there to be had. The determination to get to the net and punch in the ugly goals wasn't there. Also, when the play got rough, they seemed to fold, instead, resorting to pathetic dive attempts and shying away from confrontation. When Henrick got rocked by Brown, nobody made Brown pay. They tried a half hearted attempt to hit him, but nobody made him truly pay. A lot of the blame seems to be placed squarely on Luongo and I find this to be unfair. Yes he let in a couple of weak goals and he should be blamed for a bit of it, but more often than not, it was their defensive play that created a lot of the goals. I feel that, at times, they hung Lou out to dry and didn't really hold themselves accountable for the losses. Yes, they gave a few comments about how they have to be a little more responsible in the defensive zone, but at no time did I get the sense that they were honestly feeling it and certainly didn't show much to improve the situation. Until the team, as a whole learns to play with more attitude and determination, I don't see any changes coming in their playoff future. It is the team that wins and it is the team that loses. Blame cannot be placed on any one player or any one coach. It is all who succeed or fail.

#22 Vansicle

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:05 AM

Thank you again Vansicle, good to see you also saw through the ruse. I wonder if he realizes his post is hypocritical.

Wait a second. Oh no! I'm falling victim to bandowagoning and confirmation bias!! I have no original thoughts and all of my opinions are baseless! If only I had some psychobabble to throw around that justifies my thoughts and actions, looks like I need to take a trip to the library.

Even though I am, and have been, aware of these phenomina for a long time (I remember my psych 101 class very well), I still fall victim, from time to time, to these phenomina. Everyone does. It's how our brains work as a matter of natural selection. These mechanisms help us in our daily life to cope with our environment, and have helped us evolve into the most adaptive species on earth. It's important, though, to recognize when we do [make these logical errors] and make the necessary adjustments if our arguments/positions are to hold up to scrutiny. To say absolutely that "AV sucks" is as much hogwash as to say "AV is irreplaceable". The truth lies somewhere in the middle. It's a matter of personal preference as to just exactly where in the middle it does lie.
I happen to believe that AV is a great coach and isn't the coach that will be able to bring Vancouver the Cup. The two are not mutually exclusive. Nor are they right or wrong.

Edited by Vansicle, 14 June 2012 - 10:07 AM.

Snake Doctor, on 23 May 2014 - 10:41 AM, said:snapback.png

Miller is not on our list. It's Lack as our #1. There is no reason we would have traded both Schnieder and Luongo if we never intended to give Lack the #1 starting job.  Furthermore, the salary and term Miller is looking for is not in our favor.

 


#23 bryguy26

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:07 AM

You can use all the science in the world to explain that Vigneault is a good coach because he is!! BUT this isnt about the past right now, it's about moving forward. After 6 years is he the coach that's going to take this team to a stanley cup?? The answer is no, it's time to move on.



I started a topic a week ago and I stand by it -

"After watching the Kings absolutely dominate round after round of the playoffs it reinforces just how important one aspect of the game is... Coaching!!

I know they have many stars, big bodies and great goaltending but the coaching is definitely a huge part of their success. Look at what Sutter has done since coming to town. They needed a new face and a fresh perspective, and now this team is absolutely sound. Lombardi assembled a great team and he took the final step by getting the right coach.

Just saying... hate away" :emot-parrot:

Edited by bryguy26, 14 June 2012 - 10:08 AM.

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#24 Sneetch

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:14 AM

Which coach has he out-coached in the playoffs? Not Julien. Not Sutter. Not Quenneville. Call it a push with Trotz. Maybe he outcoached Todd McLellan by not having Ben Eager on his team.

#25 erkayloomeh

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:17 AM

this article is bang on. we would not be a better team without AV
GOD BE PRAISED

#26 Li'l Fra

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 11:01 AM

The message might be falling on deaf ears, but AV gets one more kick at the can. He's earned it.

But, it's not a coincidence that these teams with "new" coaches occasionally win the Stanley Cup.

And, giving the players the room? I prefer the Al Pacino speech from Any Given Sunday. If AV is able to come up with a beauty like that maybe he'll be able to get the players over the hump. Hard to do if he's not in the room.

Sutter got the Kings FIRED UP! He got them believing in themselves.

Is AV doing that?

#27 pianoman13

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 11:14 AM

TLDR but when it comes down to it.

AV chokes in the playoffs and this team needs someone to jumpstart them and act like a leader when they are tail spining.

Instead of making adjustments during the game, he just lets the "guys figure it out"....

Sorry but AV should have been fired.


If you didn't read then why comment? Your comment has nothing to do with the article....

No videos in sig please. 


#28 TOMapleLaughs

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 11:17 AM

We are aware of fan perception and how it doesn't play a factor in successful pro team management decisions. At least i hope we are.

What does play a factor is coaching performance, and that wasn't really discussed in the op, other than 'AV is not perfect.'

Who cares about fan-related mumbo jumbo when it didn't affect anything related to the actual decision to extend him anyway?

imo the retaining of AV means that Gillis is taking it upon himself to improve the team and is not blaming AV for his teams' failings. My concerns revolve around the lineup more than the coaching. The loss of Ehrhoff and Manny's injury affected the team quite a bit. We relied too heavily on the Sedins and when they started to sputter, so did the team. So far Gillis' sollutions have been 'meh', and that led to our inevitable first-round exit. He has a lot of work to do.


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#29 RUPERTKBD

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 11:22 AM

We are aware of fan perception and how it doesn't play a factor in successful pro team management decisions.  At least i hope we are.

What does play a factor is coaching performance, and that wasn't really discussed in the op, other than 'AV is not perfect.'

Who cares about fan-related mumbo jumbo when it didn't affect anything related to the actual decision to extend him anyway?

imo the retaining of AV means that Gillis is taking it upon himself to improve the team and is not blaming AV for his teams' failings.  My concerns revolve around the lineup more than the coaching.  The loss of Ehrhoff and Manny's injury affected the team quite a bit.  We relied too heavily on the Sedins and when they started to sputter, so did the team.  So far Gillis' sollutions have been 'meh', and that led to our inevitable first-round exit.  He has a lot of work to do.


TOML


I think this is pretty accurate Tom. MG has to fill some holes. IMO, the Cancuks need Someone to play in the top six and a defenseman who can play a physical role without being a liability.

Easier said than done, I know, but the good news is, it's certainly not impossible.
Orland Kurtenbach and Dennis Kearns had just been torched 8-1 by the Habs, but they still took time to come out to meet us, some fellow BC boys who were playing hockey in Montreal. THAT"S what being a Canuck is!

#30 Canucklehead420

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 11:44 AM

I didn't read it all, but I think AV is a good coach who deserves a couple more years. If by the end of the next two we're not seeing any results - then it's time for him to go.


thats too long for me. results speak for themselves. if we go out in the first or second round next year scoring under 2 goals a game its time for him to go.




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