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Sullivan, Belichick and Grady Little

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Old
01-19-2004, 02:09 AM
  #1
DKH
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Sullivan, Belichick and Grady Little

I have been reading some pretty negative posts on Mike Sullivan on these boards. You might have a better chance of finding that elusive second line center than a good Mike Sullivan post on this board. I even read a post where his appearance on the bench looks one of confused, with a dumb look on his face. First off, Sullivan probably got over 1200 or higher on his SATs and I'm probably cutting him short. Hockey sense? off the charts. Do I agree with everything he does? read my ad nauseum posts on keeping Thornton-Samsonov and even Murray together. Do I think he has done well- yes, yes, yes. We are not dealing with the 77 Canadiens here. He's given a pretty good cut of meat and asked to make a masterpiece in fans minds. But me point goes beyond what Sullivan has done to date.....

yesterday watching the Patriots I almost went thru the TV to grab Belichick and Charlie Weis when the Patriots had a 21-7 lead late in the third quarter and started passing near the goal line. I understand Fauria dropped a TD that would have made it 28-7. BUT a field goal would have been sufficient- since you want to be ahead by 17 points because the Colts would need three scores and 2 have to be TDs. The Pats also needed to kill the clock. Run the ball three times and if you score a TD great. But if you run three times and don't score a TD, kick a field goal, run 2 more minutes off the clock and end the third quarter with a 24-7 lead. The Colts running game would be eliminated, Manning and his receivers have no confidence with 15 minutes to go and the game is all but over. Had the Pats blown this game it would have dwarted Grady Little's decision in my mind.

All of us watching were in agreement over the Pats selection of NOT passing EVEN before the pickoff and when the Colts did it we all basically said the same thing..."they blow this game??????"

Even the football genius Bill Belichick can get second guessed and he had the good fortune of holding on. Grady Little did not. Had the Yanks Posada hit into a DP and the Sox not lost the 7th game the Pedro fiasco would have been back of the mind stuff. Its harder for a hockey coach to make a decision as controversal as these two I cited. I can't even come up with anything close.

This brings me back to Sullivan and coaching on the whole. I am already hearing that Pat Burns in Jersey not even one year after the Cup is on thin ice. With Scott Stevens out for awhile it will be very interesting to see how the Devils play. I wouldn't even be shocked if they find themselves out of the playoffs if he's gone for a long stretch. Does this mean that Burns is a bad coach? Did he get 'dumb' all of a sudden? of course not. He has injuries, his players have accomplished a huge goal last year and human nature what it is may not be that hungry. I personally think Burns is a heck of a coach but his act/style/system historically lasts 3-4 years. It may not last 2 if they turn him off and Lou tries to save the season.

I would not want to be a coach in Boston or anywhere else for that matter- but in Boston and Philly especially.


Last edited by DKH: 01-19-2004 at 02:15 AM.
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01-19-2004, 02:54 AM
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GREAT post, DKH!!

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01-19-2004, 03:07 AM
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Originally Posted by HockeyGoddess
GREAT post, DKH!!
Hey DKH. I almost had a heart attack watching that play. It was a
brain fart. Still, Fauria did drop 2 td passes. I took today off because
I feel like celebrating a little. Our Pats, the little engine that could has
become the most dominant team in the NFL. I don't feel comfortable
saying it, but it's true. We have a bad-a** defense. We have 7 picks
in the first 4 rounds in the draft this spring. We could get better!!
It's all good. Almost forgot, we do have 1 more game to win. The
similiarities between 01 are a little un-nerving. Upstart team coming
off 11-5 season with no-name qb playing team that went 14-2 in reg.
season 2 seasons removed from a Super Bowl. Yikes..

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01-19-2004, 03:20 AM
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Great post DKH. I am willing to bet that all of these Sullivan bashers will duck your post and you will not find a well thought out retort in this whole thread.

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01-19-2004, 04:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKH
I have been reading some pretty negative posts on Mike Sullivan on these boards. You might have a better chance of finding that elusive second line center than a good Mike Sullivan post on this board. I even read a post where his appearance on the bench looks one of confused, with a dumb look on his face. First off, Sullivan probably got over 1200 or higher on his SATs and I'm probably cutting him short. Hockey sense? off the charts. Do I agree with everything he does? read my ad nauseum posts on keeping Thornton-Samsonov and even Murray together. Do I think he has done well- yes, yes, yes. We are not dealing with the 77 Canadiens here. He's given a pretty good cut of meat and asked to make a masterpiece in fans minds. But me point goes beyond what Sullivan has done to date.....
On Sullivan. I'm a recent recruit to the "Sullivan is a ******" club, so I'm going to have to take you up on a point. IMO, Sullivan is not a good bench boss. Case in point the game on Saturday, when McGillis's shot broke the glass, there was a break for about 5 minutes. I was in attendance at the game and watched Sullivan on the bench. His team had been playing like crap, and were showing no emotion. A good coach would have made the most of this delay/extended timeout by either:

(a) raking them over the coals and try to get them to play better; or
(b) brought his players over and scripted something out, analyzing their play and perhaps giving them insight into what they were doing wrong; or
(c) both

But Sullivan did nothing. He stared into empty space wondering where he would go for his post game meal. Perhaps he was thinking about picking up his drycleaning after the game. Or whether the Senator ice-chicks were better looking than the Bruin ice-chicks. But one thing is for certain, he didn't have his head in the game. Perhaps this is his coaching style. He may be a Scotty Bowman type coach who saves his rants for the locker room, but he sure as **** did nothing to inspire his players in that opportune time. And for that, IMO, he is a bad bench boss.

Now, make note that I'm saying bench boss. Perhaps he's a great x's and o's type of coach that gets his work done in practices (a la Jacques Martin). But I think our down right scary play in our zone is proof that, for the most part, we dont have a well thought out plan to break down the opposition when they cross the blueline. Too often have I seen the Bruins scramble like chickens with their heads cut off trying to do too much and cover each others collective butts, with the results being that someone is inevitably left out of position and the opposition takes advantage of that.

Quote:
yesterday watching the Patriots I almost went thru the TV to grab Belichick and Charlie Weis when the Patriots had a 21-7 lead late in the third quarter and started passing near the goal line. I understand Fauria dropped a TD that would have made it 28-7. BUT a field goal would have been sufficient- since you want to be ahead by 17 points because the Colts would need three scores and 2 have to be TDs. The Pats also needed to kill the clock. Run the ball three times and if you score a TD great. But if you run three times and don't score a TD, kick a field goal, run 2 more minutes off the clock and end the third quarter with a 24-7 lead. The Colts running game would be eliminated, Manning and his receivers have no confidence with 15 minutes to go and the game is all but over. Had the Pats blown this game it would have dwarted Grady Little's decision in my mind.

All of us watching were in agreement over the Pats selection of NOT passing EVEN before the pickoff and when the Colts did it we all basically said the same thing..."they blow this game??????"
I'm with you on this, but realize that on 2nd down (when I was screaming at them to spread the field with 5 wides if they were going to pass), they had the wrong personnel package in (coachs fault), BUT on 3rd down when Brown caught what would have been a 1st down and a game ender, David Thornton made a HELL of a play to knock the ball out of his hands.

So, what would the difference have been had they run it 3 times versus running on 1st down and passing on the next two? About 20 seconds. The Colts would have had the two minute warning timeout to stop the clock, and would have burned one of their own. So, in reality, they would have received the ball back either with 2 minutes left and 1 timeout (if the Pats had run it 3 times) or with 2 minutes left and two timeouts (what did happen). Either way, the best result would have been to get that first down ... what Brown would have had had Thornton not knocked the ball away. So, to critique Belichick for one 'bad' series out of a whole game is a bit of a stretch. I know that you're using this case to make a point, and I will agree with you for the most part, but still ...

SULLY IS A MORON.

I don't care what his SATS were. I don't care if Mrs. Hooper, his 3rd grade teacher gave him 5 stars on his report on George Washington, he is still a dull coach. He does nothing behind the bench, his x's and o's 'work' is questionable at best when you watch them run around in their own zone. He does not exude the leadership that a good coach should, nor does he seem to step up when he should, so, therefore, IMO, he is a bad coach.



note: non of this is a rant on you, DKH. Just a difference in opinion.

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01-19-2004, 04:52 AM
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To Rick Middleton.....I see your point in the *one* example you gave as to why he is a bad bench coach but what would he say to his team that is down 4-0 in the 3rd? I saw Mike Keenan when he was pissed many times give the cold shoulder to his team. Its a lot like a coach that will not pull his goalie when down 2 goals because he didnt feel his team deserved to win the game.

I think giving the team the silent treatment can be effective in some situations too. I dont think we have given Sullivan enough of a chance to make his mark. He is a rookie head coach. If you people didnt think there would be ups and downs then you are just naive and that is your own fault....any rookie coach goes through this. The ones that succeed are the ones that receive support from the organization and dont have impatient fans chomping at the bit to look for a scapegoat..........which is what we have here.

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01-19-2004, 05:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruwinz20
To Rick Middleton.....I see your point in the *one* example you gave as to why he is a bad bench coach but what would he say to his team that is down 4-0 in the 3rd? I saw Mike Keenan when he was pissed many times give the cold shoulder to his team. Its a lot like a coach that will not pull his goalie when down 2 goals because he didnt feel his team deserved to win the game.

I think giving the team the silent treatment can be effective in some situations too. I dont think we have given Sullivan enough of a chance to make his mark. He is a rookie head coach. If you people didnt think there would be ups and downs then you are just naive and that is your own fault....any rookie coach goes through this. The ones that succeed are the ones that receive support from the organization and dont have impatient fans chomping at the bit to look for a scapegoat..........which is what we have here.
Sure, I gave one example. I could give a heckuva lot more, as could other posters, but in this instance, I think it speaks volumes. Think back on the season to all of the games that they've been behind or playing poorly. How often has Sullivan gone after the team on the bench? I can maybe think of one. OK, so that may be his style, but if he is the 'quiet' type of coach, then wouldn't his forte then be teaching the players? And as we can clearly see, he's doing a poor job of that as well. His 'passive defense' system (defensemen backing up into the zone allowing players to cross the blueline and collapsing on the goalie) hasn't been working as of late, yet I don't see a correction in their play. They're making the same mistakes day in day out.

And believe me, I'd be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt if I saw even a glimmer of good coaching. Yet I've seen nothing. Nothing to warrant my patience. I haven't seen considerable adjustments to their play that has contributed to a significant improvement in play. Their PK unit has been a hell of a lot better lately, but is that attributable to coaching or to individual players simply playing better? Who's been our best PK? Unfortunately (and this is no slight on him), its been Donato. Ted was supposed to be a depth player who would possibly be groomed into a coaching role in Providence in the next couple of years. He was, at best, a stop-gap solution, yet he's the best man on the PK (excluding the goalies).

Quite frankly, Sullivan has shown me nothing that could constitute him being a good coach. Let me put it to you this way:

"What have you seen from Sullivan that would make you believe that he is a good coach?"

My answer would be nothing. What would yours be? And again, don't take this as a personal shot, I'm not out for anyone. I just want to know why you think he warrants our collective patience?

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01-19-2004, 06:08 AM
  #8
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Sullivan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Middleton
Sure, I gave one example. I could give a heckuva lot more, as could other posters, but in this instance, I think it speaks volumes. Think back on the season to all of the games that they've been behind or playing poorly. How often has Sullivan gone after the team on the bench? I can maybe think of one. OK, so that may be his style, but if he is the 'quiet' type of coach, then wouldn't his forte then be teaching the players? And as we can clearly see, he's doing a poor job of that as well. His 'passive defense' system (defensemen backing up into the zone allowing players to cross the blueline and collapsing on the goalie) hasn't been working as of late, yet I don't see a correction in their play. They're making the same mistakes day in day out.

And believe me, I'd be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt if I saw even a glimmer of good coaching. Yet I've seen nothing. Nothing to warrant my patience. I haven't seen considerable adjustments to their play that has contributed to a significant improvement in play. Their PK unit has been a hell of a lot better lately, but is that attributable to coaching or to individual players simply playing better? Who's been our best PK? Unfortunately (and this is no slight on him), its been Donato. Ted was supposed to be a depth player who would possibly be groomed into a coaching role in Providence in the next couple of years. He was, at best, a stop-gap solution, yet he's the best man on the PK (excluding the goalies).

Quite frankly, Sullivan has shown me nothing that could constitute him being a good coach. Let me put it to you this way:

"What have you seen from Sullivan that would make you believe that he is a good coach?"

My answer would be nothing. What would yours be? And again, don't take this as a personal shot, I'm not out for anyone. I just want to know why you think he warrants our collective patience?


Rookie NHL coaches, IMO, must be given a year or two before they're rated. I think it's WAY too early to figure out how Sullivan will project.
But keep in mind, this is Boston, and he may not be given that time--remember how quickly they flipped on Ftorek after issuing the vote of confidence last year. To wit: O'Connell's quote: he has righted the ship, etc....then gone in about a week.
The one point I think Sullivan will have to grasp, and in a hurry: understanding who has IT on any given night. By my eye, he has yet to acknowleged the fact that some guys show up with no purpose, ill-prepared, or simply not willing to play.
When that's the case, I say see-you-later. If one or two shifts into a guy's night, he just ain't there, then we move on...play guys who are ready, and wanting, even if that means ditching 2-4 guys on any given night. Fact it, after the coach makes it clear with 1 or 2 of those guys, the rest of the bench will respond (Gee, the coach is actually demanding something out of us?!?!).
Bowman and Arbour were masters of this. We are now about 50 games into the season, and I already can think of 6-10 games when I would have ditched Thornton, Murray, Boytnon....the list goes on. Ridiculous. Had Sullivan sat these guys at the get-go, I think the response--and their production--would have been vastly different. He has given them way too much credit for being pros. He was a pro, in fact a consummate pro (albeit with limited skills), and he has made a grandisose mistake in expecting the same from them.
A coach can not be overly concerned with being popular. In fact, he may have to be overly concerned if he is popular. The best mix, I think, is fear and respect. The only way to percolate that fear, in today's game, is mess with their playing minutes and hope they have enuf pride inside--as professionals--to respond. And if they don't have that pride to respond, then get rid of 'em. Very simple.

kpd/hoh

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01-19-2004, 06:27 AM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hubofhockey
The one point I think Sullivan will have to grasp, and in a hurry: understanding who has IT on any given night. By my eye, he has yet to acknowleged the fact that some guys show up with no purpose, ill-prepared, or simply not willing to play.
Great point. I am still wondering why Joe & Murray (4 PPG between them) are the main power play guys while Bergeron & Lapointe (13 PPG between them) are left to pick up the scraps. Given that Sullivan doesn't seem to notice who has IT and who doesn't over the course of half a season, I'm not too optimistic that he'll figure out who has it on any given night.

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01-19-2004, 06:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
Great point. I am still wondering why Joe & Murray (4 PPG between them) are the main power play guys while Bergeron & Lapointe (13 PPG between them) are left to pick up the scraps. Given that Sullivan doesn't seem to notice who has IT and who doesn't over the course of half a season, I'm not too optimistic that he'll figure out who has it on any given night.


Iron Mike -- If two great hockey minds like us can figure out who has IT, then I have to believe Sully can figure out who has IT.
The key is: ACTING on it when you recognize IT is not there on any given night. I can only assume he doesn't act on it because of a million-and-one mitigating circumstances that a rookie coach--or most rookie coaches--takes into account.
That's what he has to get over: the desire to placate or assuage guys. Read: rookie mistake.
Forget it. The clock ticks for 60 minutes. The boat leaves every hour, and if you're not there, you never were. If players don't have the personal pride to show up for at least 90 percent of the 82 games (only a handful of true superstars are there every night), then good riddance. There is such a thing as treating them too much like professionals. When they sit there like amateurs, treat 'em like amateurs
kpd/hoh

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01-19-2004, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
Given that Sullivan doesn't seem to notice who has IT and who doesn't over the course of half a season, I'm not too optimistic that he'll figure out who has it on any given night.
It's more than any given night though, isn't it? It's that he hasn't shown the willingness to stir up the pot. How many games do Murray & Thornton have to vanish when they play together before you sever the cord? The amount of games that the Bruins have just not 'shown up' this year is higher than I can remember in quite some time. And what has Sullivan done in response? Shake up the top 2 lines? Eh, sorta. Change up the gameplan? Not at all.

I'm not damning him at all yet. I certainly wouldn't fire him. But, I would tell him to start taking some risks to start things up. It's like he's afraid by doing something out of the ordinary it'll cost him his job. In reality, by doing nothing, he's hurting his long-term chances here and anywhere else.

If I had to decide right now, I'd say he's more Grady than Bill.

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01-19-2004, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erfus
It's more than any given night though, isn't it? It's that he hasn't shown the willingness to stir up the pot.

[...]

I'm not damning him at all yet. I certainly wouldn't fire him. But, I would tell him to start taking some risks to start things up. It's like he's afraid by doing something out of the ordinary it'll cost him his job. In reality, by doing nothing, he's hurting his long-term chances here and anywhere else.
I am extremely disappointed in the job Sullivan has done so far. Having coached in Providence last year, I expected him to have more faith in the guys who played for him these last year. Instead, he's shown extreme preference for undeserving veterans.

Jillson is out of the lineup again today. Not once has Sullivan seen fit to hold Gill, McGillis, O'Donnell, or Boynton accountable for their subpar play, but he will scratch Jillson, the guy with the most upside on the team. Typical Bruins. Maybe now O'Connell will trade Jillson for Some over the hill veteran forward.

That said, I think it's way too soon to fire Sullivan (unless O'Connell is fired and his replacement wants his own guy, which isn;t likely to happen).

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01-19-2004, 07:15 PM
  #13
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I Dont Want To See Him Canned

I dont want him fired yet. But then again, I was one who didnt want him HIRED in the first place!

O`C has been awful when it comes to hiring coaches. Ftorek should never have been hired, in hindsight. And I think Sully should have been an NHL asst. first.

As far as Sullivan...I have one major issue, that has been consistent all season. How in the heck does he decide who sits on the bench, and who is in the press box?

Does he have these guys draw straws?? It certainly isnt based on their performance. Were that the case, Zamuner wouldnt have been sent to Providence, Huml wouldnt have been scratched the day after a very good performance against the Caps, Grosek wouldnt have been a press box regular...he has been one of the few who bring it nightly.

On the bench, he is learning. He was given a tough job to do, and has done okay with it.

He still cant get them to play with ANY consistency...which is a statement that hits his inability to motivate with a direct shot! This is another weakspot. This team should NOT be mailing it in as often as they do.

They quit on Ftorek because he was too tough on them and benched them when they didnt perform. They quit on him and stabbed him in the back when he left.

Sullivan certainly saw that and he has taken the polar opposite approach.....that being the role of coach/friend. He knows this team is full of guys who are willing tor ip the coach when he leaves....and as a human being, he doesnt want to that happen to him.

He is having trouble, obviously, laying the law down. He held one demanding practice and it worked for a night or 2. Since then, we have seen a period and a half no-show on Neely night and a complete no-show against the Sens.

Thats my issue with Sullivan...

1. Probably should be an assistant first.
2. Managing playing/scratch roster.
3. Toughness/demanding/motivation problems.

Later

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01-19-2004, 08:07 PM
  #14
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This aint rocket science....

Coaching in hockey is 25% X's and O's, and 75% motivation. Of course, poor Sully is on the bottom rung of this pathetically dysfunctional management food chain, that can't help. He's stuck trying to reverse all the negative affects brought on by poor ownership. Even so he gets an almost failing grade.

They don't play , they don't try, on a regular basis. More often then not, during a long stretch, the were down right pathetic in the hussle category.

Sorry folks, this is'nt hoop, it's not football, it's not sunny day a at Fenway. It's the Bruins, I expect more , I demand more effort...hell lose, but at least give it your all. I'm not seeing that, not by a long shot.

Sully D-

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01-19-2004, 08:39 PM
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKH
I have been reading some pretty negative posts on Mike Sullivan on these boards. You might have a better chance of finding that elusive second line center than a good Mike Sullivan post on this board...
Most of the frequent posters here know that Sullivan is a rookie learning on the job.
If he fails, it's O'Connell's fault for hiring him in the first place.

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