Thread: Confirmed with Link: Brandon Prust to Montreal [4 years, $10M]
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07-03-2012, 12:51 AM
Talks to Goalposts
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Originally Posted by Miller Time View Post
i'm speaking from personal experience... what kind of evidence are you relying on?

and trust me, sports psychology is far more than "pop" psychology... even if, like any scientific field involving the brain, we have only begun to scratch the surface of knowledge.

as for empiricism, I've yet to see any empirical evidence that conclusively speaks to team building... aside from the very basic Wins/Losses, or goals for/goals against type.

so much of the statistical "evidence" that gets touted around here falls far far short of any kind of valid empirical study, despite what some would have you believe... even within that stat obsessed community, there is strong diverstity over the metrics considered most important to measure.

it's not about injuries, it's about what is going through the mind of the players (on both teams) the day/hour/minute before the game. the impact of nerves/anxiety on performance are huge, though not consistent from player to player.

what is consistent, is that no one "likes" to get hurt from a hit, and every athlete in a competitive sport prefers it when the opposition isn't capable/willing of physically hurting you...

when you roll lines featuring guys like Darche, Halpern, Moore, Palushaj, Weber et. you may get some bursts of skill and some one-dimensional assets, but you get nothing in the physical department, and the guys in the other room getting ready to play have one less emotional/psychological aspect to worry about. Internally, wether you choose to accept it or not, knowing that you have some tough SOB's on your team that are watching your ass goes a LONG LONG way to making you feel more at ease... wether or not their precense actually impacts the odds of you suffering a serious injury or taking a cheap shot.

the mistake is to assume that players, or any human being for that matter, operates based on logical assessments of their environment. Study after study shows that we don't, and yet policy after policy gets written assuming we do.
Doesn't matter wether statistically there is any evidence to the impact of "fighters" or "tough guys" on injuries or cheap shots.... what matters is what the guys in the locker room think and feel.

unless you've been in that kind of enviroment, i wonder wether any amount of stat checking can give you the kind of understanding that comes with experience?
As for my experience, I've played team sports in my youth, at a high enough level that there was team travel involve so I'm a little bit familiar with a dressing room. I've also played a ton of goaltending and considered Roy an idol so I've done plenty of the mental gamesmanship with myself, retrospectively I think it wasn't what I thought it was visa vie performance.

But more importantly I care a lot about the human cognitive process and how we end up getting so irrational. I have a certain professional interest in it.

I'd agree that hockey players, as a whole, believe in this kind of stuff. They're immersed in the hockey culture that believes in this kind of thing.

I don't think there's the "magic feather" effect on team play that people assume, or at the least its not the dominant factor its made out to be. The discussion boils down to a certain assumption that there is an overall increase in confidence. But the effect on confidence on performance is much more complicated than that.

We've got at least two assumed steps here. That this bottom liner will significantly improve "confidence," and that kind of "confidence" will consistently deliver performance improvements from base line. Two invisible processes that would be very difficult to assess in real conditions.

The key thing here is that for human beings, what they think effected what they did they'll be terrible at getting the right answer. We pretty much make up stories after the fact to explain ourselves. The guys in the room can very much think something helps when it didn't affect them in the slightest. So I don't place a huge amount of stock in stories about how great we played because this happened. This is where the folklore aspect kicks in because what kind of stories we tell about ourselves depend a lot on what we might call cultural factors.

We're also assuming that the effect is bigger enough be significant over the everyday noise of noise of the complexities of the psychology of ~25 people that make up the staff and players of a hockey team. Group dynamics get pretty complicated, just because somebody was effective at a particular point in time doesn't mean its a consistent repeatable factor. For example, Messier was supposedly huge in the Rangers room but was despised in Vancouver's.

We're also talking about a million+ dollars worth of effect here. That's a lot of coin to put on this.

More to the point, guys who are supposed to have the qualities that have been assigned to Prust tend to come around pretty often. My objection isn't so much in assigning value to a Prust as paying over market value for it. Most of the time putting value on a Prust type is harmless and ends up being a marginal factor in terms of opportunity.

It seems though that Bergevin fell into a rookie mistake for a GM. He got into a bidding war for a depth support player and ended up winning by means of an over payment. That speaks to focusing to hard on a specific guy rather than realizing that there was a lot of decent options out there and that he wasn't married to a single one. That's the kind of restraint he showed in the top six forward market and I think he could have used some of that here.

I dont't think there'd be any kind of disaster that would happen if they just went with Moen, Armstrong and White as the bottom line wingers. I think there is a minor disaster waiting if the team can't improve the scoring winger depth situation and Prust took resources away from solving that problem.

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