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Two Minutes’ Hate: Oh hey a series against Vermonzzzzzzzzzzz

March 12, 2009

It’s time for playoff hockey, and that means it’s time to throw rational, fact-driven commentary out the window. Thus, we present to you now a positively Orwellian exercise in general dislike: “The Two Minutes’ Hate.”

Hate is a word that gets tossed around a lot these days. “I hate the Yankees,” people will say. “I hate my job,” others will mutter. Much of it is hyperbole. But when we say we hate Vermont, don’t just brush that off as further exaggeration. We actually, actively hate everything about the Vermont Catamounts.


Perhaps the primary reason for this, and this might be a bit, umm, unfair, is Vermont’s fans. They are, first and foremost, a good reason to hate anything. Their inexplicably supercilious attitude regarding their team is at once bewildering, frustrating and enfuriating. They believe every player to have ever come to play at the Gutterson Fieldhouse to have been the next Yvan Cournoyer, Tim Horton or Tony Esposito at worst and the next Gordie Howe, Scott Stevens or Ken Dryden at best.

Case in point: These clods cannot go a few hours without bringing up Martin St. Louis, Timmy Thomas and Eric Perrin and how great they were when they played at Vermont. Certainly that’s true and we cannot begrudge them that, but they also graduated from the school in 1996, 1997 and 1997, respectively, so we don’t see what there is to be so goddamn giddy about 12 or 13 years later. And talk about the embarrassment, by the way, of crowing about Eric Perrin. How mortifying.

But we haven’t even touched on the worst of Vermont’s fanbase, those bottomfeeders in a rotting swamp, the lowest of the low, the sickly scavengers of the dying ecosystem: the Vermont students. Were it not for the neanderthalic cretins over in Amherst, Catamount students would be widely regarded as the league’s worst. In a runaway. The organized cheers with F-bombs in them underscore the general classlessness with which they comport themselves on a nightly basis, and, were we students there or fans of the team in any way, we would be thoroughly ashamed to be associated with this kind of behavior. However, despite numerous warnings and admonitions from various school and team officials, the repulsive conduct continues unabated and unchecked, which proves that not only are Vermont higher-ups spineless, they’re impotent as well.

It’s honestly inexplicable that a group of people can feel so strongly about something and not have hidden themselves away from the world in a giant compound, armed to the teeth and willing to castrate themselves and drink poison in anticipation of a coming cosmic event. And that doesn’t even address the fact that the program to which they are creepily and slavishly devoted is, of course, rather uninspiring.

We’ve made the argument several times before that Vermont plays boring hockey, especially on the road. Frankly, we feel it’s an affront to the sport we love so dearly. This is not, of course, true of the Catamounts’ games in Burlington, where they are more willing to play a wide-open game, but so effective is Lowell at the somehow-vaunted Gutterson Fieldhouse that it forced Vermont to revert to “road hockey” in the second game of its series up there and still won the game.

We do think Kevin Sneddon is a fine coach (all those nice things he always has to say about Lowell go a long, long way!) but as for the rest of the team, well, you can guess how we feel.

There is, of course, the much-heralded Swedish superstar Viktor Stalburg (with a name like that, though, we can tell he’s actually from former nation in the Soviet Bloc, and probably communist). He’s good alright. All those points and goals! Whoa! Wait how’s he done against Lowell at the Gutt this year? Oh he was almost silent, that’s right. Big man, we saw “No Country for Old Men,” and if that movie taught us nothing else, it’s that quiet guys are only scary if they do something menacing. Skating around aimlessly and not shooting the puck does not fit anybody’s definition of “menacing,” chief.

Then there’s Peter Lenes, who, if we interpreted that movie “Watchmen” correctly, was once seen by Dr. Manhattan (an event so tiny and so quick that it might be said to have not happened at all). Lenes is another in Vermont’s long line of microscopic forwards that people rave about for no particular reason. “He works hard,” they say. Great, so do construction workers. Go build a skyscraper, Pete, and then we’ll be impressed. Actually, that’s probably too tall a task (get it?), so let’s start with something more your speed, or, more accurately, size. How would you like to captain a ship-in-a-bottle? We can get you a pirate’s hat out of a box of Legos, if you like.

Speaking of which, what is with Vermont’s inability to recruit anyone of normal size? More than half the guys on their team would have been thrown off a cliff if they were born in ancient Sparta. They have five players under 5-foot-10 (two of them, including Lenes, are generously listed at 5-foot-6) and seven over 6-foot-3. Is there some special program for freakish weirdos of off-putting size of which Kevin Sneddon is a supporter? How about letting some normal-sized human beings on the team, Kev? Is that really a big favor to ask? It might make your team live up to its preconceived reputation that your fans have worked out for you.

Honestly, this series doesn’t scare us much. If Lowell wins (and it will), it will just serve as yet another reminder that reputation, even if it’s cooked up by fans who would be on the lunatic fringe of even the most radical groups, means zip. And if Lowell somehow loses, it will be because Brett Leonard used his dwarven magic to help his team to victory.

Go ‘Hawks go!

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