Is San Jose Sharks’ GM Doug Wilson Evaluating His Team With Rose-Colored Glasses On?

In a recent article by the San Jose Mercury News, Curtis Pashelka interviewed San Jose Sharks’ General Manager Doug Wilson about whether the Sharks needed to make any roster moves in response to their current seven-game losing streak.

Wilson made clear that he still has faith in the Sharks’ roster as it is now assembled, saying that “the answer lies within that room.” However, the justification he gave for his continued confidence in the team suggests to me that he is not evaluating the Sharks’ roster honestly, but rather with bias that is clouding his judgement.

“We’ve lost four games out of 14 in regulation. That’s the reality,” is how Doug Wilson justified his continued belief in the roster. Now, I’m not even saying I disagree with his assertion that the current Sharks’ roster still has potential, just that the reason he stated for his confidence in the team troubles me because it is dishonest in its logic and suggests bias.

Here is the problem with the statement he made, suggesting that while the rest of us might see the Sharks as a team with a seven-win, seven-loss record, or a seven-win, four-loss, three-overtime-or-shootout-loss record, the reality is that the Sharks have only lost four games out of fourteen total in regulation. While his statement is technically true in a sense, it’s also pure spin, misleadingly worded. What Doug Wilson is doing is counting the wins the Sharks have gotten past regulation, but not the losses, in order to, it would seem, make the team’s record sound better than it really is.

That’s intellectually dishonest. You can’t do that. And unless he secretly realizes this and only said what he did to the Mercury News in an attempt to spin fan perception, what this means is he is evaluating the performance of his own team with bias, and that he does not even realize that he is looking at the team’s record in a dishonest fashion.

‘We’ve only lost four games out of 14 in regulation.’ He makes it sound like they’ve legitimately won seven games but only legitimately lost four, with the three other games just ties or BS losses like ones resulting from shootouts, while all seven of the team’s wins were legitimate, non-overtime or shootout wins. But that’s not true. Two of the Sharks’ wins came from shootouts just as two of their losses did. Even Stefan. (There, I did a Vampire Diaries joke to make up for not doing one when I could have in my last blog that was partially about Tom Gilbert. Happy now??? Have I sufficiently appeased all you Vampire Diaries fans out there who have been email-spamming me ever since I didn’t make the Gilbert joke in the last blog?).

Then why would someone choose to look at the Sharks’ record that way if it’s not the truth? Again, bias. Sometimes when people are so emotionally involved in wanting their team to win, for example, they unconsciously look at their team’s performance in a skewed manner, only ever seeing the most positive angle, while ignoring the negatives.

For example, if Wilson was someone who was against the Sharks instead of for them, he could just as easily have said “we’ve only won five games out of 14 in regulation, that’s the reality.” That statement is just as true as the one he made, so one has to ask why he didn’t say that instead. Why the positive spin instead of the negative spin, when both are equally true (and misleading). Or why not just the objective truth? The answer, it would appear, is that his bias made him look for the positive spin without even realizing he was doing it or that he was failing to evaluate his team objectively as a result.

Of course, sports fans do this all the time, and although it can be annoying when trying to have an objective conversation with them about their team, it’s forgivable because they’re just fans. But this is the Sharks’ GM. If the GM of the team can’t even evaluate his team honestly and without bias, what hope do we have? How is he supposed to make the right decisions about his team if he can’t even evaluate it honestly? The Sharks are not a four-regulation-losses-out-of-14-games team, or a 71% win-percentage team. They are not a five-regulation-wins-out-of-14 games, or a 36% win-percentage, team, either. They are a 7-4-3 team, period. Seven wins, seven losses, including three points in the standings for three OT/SO losses of the seven total.

And for the GM of the team to suggest they are anything different from that, for him to actually attempt to skew the numbers that appear objectively on NHL.com into something different and more favorable towards his team, worries me as a fan.

Written by Shark Circle

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