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USCHOmbudsman: The bitter depths of despair

January 17, 2008

With so many typically dominant teams in Hockey East performing so badly this year, inevitably there’s going to be some, er, angst and acrimony from the fans of these teams. It’s only natural.

“Fire the coach!”
“Shake up the lines!”
“Start the backup goalie!”

These are the kinds of instinctual reactions from the itchy trigger finger types who demand nothing less 25-win seasons and glorious, glorious games in the NCAA tournament. Heck, finishing at the top of Hockey East is a ho-hum-business-as-usual event to these spoiled, (let’s face it) bandwagoneer “fans.”

The price of success, it seems, is a witless fanbase that expects nothing but replication of that success. Pound on every team in the league or you’re a huge letdown. This year, it pleases us to say, has provided letdowns by the bucketful, and the resultant fan meltdowns have been hysterical.

Take this sampling of fan reaction to another round of colossal failure.

Didn’t you guys used to be Vermont?
The first comes from “Catlover,” one of the more putrescently intolerable fans Burlington, Vt. has every produced.

In the past when Vermont struggled alot of people siad they played well but didnt have the talent to beat top teams, now I think we have more talent then we have had but are not getting that 100% effort. I think I like the old way at least you left the game with a better feeling.

Meandering run-on sentences aside, the point is simply not really all that true. Vermont teams in the past have been very talented and haven’t produced, and now this team clearly has less talent than before (see: goals for/goals against numbers) and also isn’t producing.

Kevin Sneddon recently whined to the papers up in Burlington that he can’t coach a soft team, which tells us one thing: his recruiting skills stink. If a kid is soft, you have to have seen that before offering a scholarship. Players are either hard-nosed or not. You can’t instill that into somebody. This whole thing is on Sneddon, who, unlike Tim Whitehead, is considered more or less infallible by his team’s fans. We don’t get it. Two sixth place finishes in a row and headed for lower than that this year? That was your statement to Hockey East? We hope the ECAC will take you back.

You can’t please all the fans all the time
In stark contrast to these attitudes is that of UNH fans, who despite leading the conference and absolutely pounding then-No. 5 UMass this weekend, will find anything to kvetch about. We’ll hand this one off to one “Wildfan” (assumedly not his real name), who really broke a lot of stereotypes with this post.

Just watched the Friday night game on DVR, mostly wondering what happened at the end of the 2nd period, and I have to say, that was a pretty awful set of penalties dished out by the official. The hooking call on Radja that led to the outbursts and ensuing penalties was absolutly embarassing. A) there was no hook, b) the period was ending and c) a UNH player was cross checked in the face behind the ZooMass net seconds before the play turned up the ice, right in front of the official…

I try to bite my tongue when it comes to officiating (moreso than I used to ;) ) but after the garbage by both teams he let go (lots of crap after the whistle that never ended up as even matching minors), which led to the extra curriculars after the final buzzer in the 3rd, to call that penalty was just ridiculous. I am not defending the reactions by the coach and captain following it, but it’s pretty easy to see where they were coming from. Simply embarassing by the official.

A decisive win on the road against the fifth-ranked team in the country? Sure seems like a good time to bang on the ol’ “the refs are out to get us” drum. Just imagine if UNH had lost.

Help us help you
The final post of this week’s USCHOmbudsman comes from “Jofa,” who is clearly a man in search of a ledge.

After yesterday’s apparently pitiful performance against Dartmouth last night, he unleashed this string of unhappy epithets at his once-beloved Terriers.

Come on, man. Take it easy. We’re here for you if you ever need to talk it out. You don’t have it so bad. Nothing will pull you out of that Bennett-inspired depression like being regaled with tales of Lowell’s fabled Chris Davidson era. We’ve been there, man. We were once like you!

This team is an embarassing train wreck. Parker a friggin joke. HAA has been such a home rink advantage, right. We are getting beat by below average Ivy teams. Wilson gagged a clean look out front in the 2nd. Strait and Shatt pathetic plays leading to goals. Bennett was alright to a point but got used on the winning goal and “didnt see” the 2nd one (broken record)., even the first was a lazy effort on his part. Where is Higgins??

Yip,Higgins we thought we had something 2 years ago, I guess not. Popko useless tonite. Weston cant put the puck in the ocean. 3 out of the next 4 BC,UNH twice. This season is going to get uglier trust me. Strap yourselves in, this may be the worst end to a season in many a decade upcoming. And not that it matters (to me) but they have a zero shot at beating BC in the first round of the Beanpot so even the so-called fanboys cant take solace.

Bank on it Wilson is long gone after this year he aint staying for the horror that the Jack Parker show has become. Quinn and Bavis look like Dumb and Dumber on the bench these days. Did I cover everyone?

Yup, that about nails it.

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