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This Preseason in Disrespect: (500) Days of Insolence

October 2, 2009

We’ve been waiting seven months for this moment.

After having the 2008-2009 season forced to an abrupt (and let’s face it, suspicious) end at the TD Banknorth Garden, the River Hawks approach the new year with the highest of expectations. Eyeing the state of Hockey East, it’s not hard to see why.

The River Hawks will certainly miss the speed of Mike Potacco. They’ll have to make do without the services of the gritty Nick Monroe. And the leadership and presence of captain Mark Roboethan won’t be easy to replace.

Compared to the rest of the league, however, the River Hawks escaped the attrition of graduation and early departures largely unscathed. Gone are skilled snipers Viktor Stalberg (UVM), Colin Wilson (BU) and James van Riemsdyk (UNH). No longer will Matt Gilroy (BU) reign over the BU blue line. Northeastern faces the reality of life without Brad Thiessen between the pipes. In short, there was a significant talent exodus in Hockey East, and when the dust settled, Lowell stood alone as the team to beat.

Viewing it any other way is, we theorize, nothing more than a personal vendetta against Lowell and us personally, dripping with disrespect.

So it was with great anticipation that we awaited the preseason rankings, both for the conference and the national scene. It appeared to us, and, dare we say, any rational man, that the River Hawks would garner a lofty place in all polls befitting their status as the elite of Hockey East. Surely the media outlets would give Lowell the accolades that they so richly deserved. How could the evidence be ignored? That, we surmised, could not happen.

Yet it did.

We did this to ourselves, really. We ceded the consistent wariness and distrust that had served us so faithfully in the past. We allowed ourselves to be blinded by what we construed to be overwhelming evidence of Lowell’s superiority. In short, we got sloppy. And sloppiness is the perfect breeding ground for disrespect.

The following national polls, all of which we found ourselves aggrieved by, will be ordered from those least disrespectful all the way to the unimaginable.

Poll No. 1 – The Sporting News
Degree of Disrespect: Slight

  1. Denver
  2. Miami (OH)
  3. Michigan
  4. Lowell
  5. Notre Dame
  6. Boston University
  7. North Dakota
  8. Minnesota-Duluth
  9. Yale
  10. St. Cloud State
  11. Princeton
  12. Cornell
  13. Minnesota
  14. Boston College
  15. Northern Michigan
  16. Northeastern
  17. Ohio State
  18. New Hampshire
  19. Wisconsin
  20. Massachusetts

The problem with The Sporting News poll is obviously that Lowell is not ranked first, a common theme, as you’ll soon see. However, The Sporting News does grace the River Hawks with their highest pre-season poll ranking, and for that we grant them a modicum of clemency for their trespasses.

However, we would like a word with the powers at be at The Sporting News offices for even mentioning the mouthbreathers in Amherst in a positive light. Any Top 20 list that includes the Minutemen and lacks the title “Schools That Should Be Carpet-Bombed for the Good of America” is outrageous.  On the flip side, we applaud the authors for omitting The University of Vermont on their list, undoubtedly a feather in their cap. While we’re certain some will say The Sporting News managed to overlook the powerhouse freshmen the Catamounts are reloading with this year (another Stalberg!!!!!!), that kind of reality check is something we can get behind in a big way.

Poll No. 2 – Hockey East Coaches’ Poll
Degree of Disrespect: Moderate

  1. Boston University (6)
  2. Lowell (2)
  3. Boston College (2)
  4. University of New Hampshire
  5. University of Vermont
  6. Northeastern University
  7. University of Massachusetts
  8. University of Maine
  9. Providence College
  10. Merrimack College

We can’t say Lowell’s getting tipped for second place was unexpected. Most of those who consider themselves in-the-know also consider BU and Lowell the top two teams in Hockey East and give the preseason nod to the reigning national champions. We almost get it. At least one of the Terriers’ first-place votes had to come from Blaise MacDonald, since he unfairly cannot vote for his own team (our feeling is that the league should have given him special dispensation considering Lowell’s clear superiority over the rest of a lagging field). Such an offense can be overlooked. For now.

However, we are having a dilly of a time wrapping our heads around which coaches could have possibly given Boston College two first-place votes. The gap between Lowell and BC shouldn’t have been this close. If the names of the two coaches responsible for such a dishonorable slap in the face ever come to light, Levels will be dispensed and apologies expected.

Poll No. 3 – College Hockey News
Degree of Disrespect: Uncomfortable

  1. Denver
  2. Miami (OH)
  3. Boston University
  4. Cornell
  5. Michigan
  6. Minnesota
  7. Princeton
  8. Notre Dame
  9. Lowell
  10. Yale

This is simply unacceptable. Who do they think the River Hawks are? Just some schnooks on skates? The very fact that Cornell is ranked fourth in this poll speaks volumes about both its illegitimacy and the role the College Hockey News (CHN)  play in what has to be a vast, nationwide conspiracy against our dear alma mater. In fact, we’re going to go out on a limb here and suggest that three Ivy League teams in the top 10 has to be a sign of the coming apocalypse, or blatant Ivy cronyism. We can only hope, for the sake of journalistic integrity, that no one was paid for this unequivocal disaster.

Poll No. 4 – The College Hockey Blog
Degree of Disrespect: Staggering

  1. Denver*
  2. Miami (OH)*
  3. Boston University
  4. Cornell
  5. Notre Dame
  6. Princeton
  7. North Dakota
  8. Minnesota
  9. Michigan
  10. Yale
  11. Lowell
  12. St. Cloud State
  13. New Hampshire
  14. Air Force
  15. Boston College
  16. Northern Michigan


Oh, where to begin? For starters, the very layout of this alleged “blog” is mind-numbing. Each of the top 16 teams had their own post — who wants to read more than three words about Northern Michigan? — and the list remains incomplete as of this update. The format is atrocious, and the writing largely unreadable. The “good” folks at The College Hockey Blog couldn’t even be bothered to share their drivel in a readable list format. And the pomposity to assume that anyone would want to read your thoughts on St. Cloud State, which once again will make the NCAA tournament and lose as soon as physically possible, let alone 15 other teams individually, is bewildering. This, in and of itself, is painfully disrespectful, and we haven’t even discussed the content.

Picking up where CHN left off, TCHB also decided to include three Ivy League teams in the top ten. Adding insult to egregious injury, Lowell comes in at a very pedestrian 11th. The disgust that resonates from reading this poll is almost unquantifiable even to the world’s most brilliant mathologists. The authors of TCHB have earned themselves a seat of the Levels of Disrespect, and we’re sure it couldn’t have happened to bigger waste of bandwidth.

Poll No. 5 – Goon’s World, courtesy of
Degree of Disrespect: Weapons-Grade

  1. Denver
  2. Miami (OH)
  3. Notre Dame
  4. North Dakota
  5. Boston University
  6. Michigan
  7. Vermont*
  8. Minnesota
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Lowell
  11. Minnesota-Duluth
  12. Boston College
  13. Yale
  14. Princeton
  15. New Hampshire
  16. Northeastern
  17. St. Cloud State
  18. Northern Michigan
  19. Cornell
  20. Air Force


This level of disrespect we’d expect to see from Joe Bertagna, but some internet creepazoid? Yikes. This poll served a sobering reality check for us. We hadn’t assumed that anyone on the planet could be this stultifyingly off-base, and yet here we are. It speaks to the widespread intensity at which the Lowell River Hawk hockey program is insulted on a daily basis, and serves as a reminder that the Mike Judge film “Idiocracy” might not be so far from the horrifying truth.

Unlike the previous polls that we’ve admonished for placing other top contenders above our beloved ‘Hawks, this pathetic prognosticator has gone and taken it upon himself to remove Lowell from their well-earned, consensus status as a top tier team on the national level altogether, and has replaced them, for all intents and purposes, with Vermont.

Yes, the Vermont Catamounts. The very Vermont team that the Hockey East coaches picked to tie for fourth place, with New Hampshire and Allied Biscuit.  The author of this blog must have ingested gallons of the “It’s okay that we lost Stalberg, Strong and Lenes” Kool-Aid that they’re handing out with the hacky sacks up in Burlington.  Frankly, we’re disappointed that this contagion was allowed to spread outside of the Green Mountain state, and fear for the rest of the hockey-loving world.

To make matters worse (if such a thing exists), the author goes on to note that, “Vermont is my pick to win Hockey East.”

We’ll give you a minute to let the retching subside.

You’ve got it folks; a team that couldn’t win a single game in the quarterfinal series they hosted last year is winning Hockey East this season. A squad that lost its three best players is about to make some serious noise, both in-league and nationwide. Book it, it’s a done deal!

Fact: It’s far more likely the wells at Coyote Hills, which is producing 2,000 barrels a week, will come in dry than it is that Vermont, which will struggle for home ice, will win Hockey East. Have crazier things happened? (Sure, “Crash” won a Best Picture Oscar.) But we’re the kind of congenial fellows who like to take all the relevant information and make an informed, calculated decision. And nothing indicates Vermont will suddenly have the season of a lifetime.

Even assuming, for half a crazy second, that the incoming Catamount freshmen manage to have a significant impact to the team on the stat sheet, wasn’t Lowell better than them when they had a Hobey Baker candidate on the roster? Does this sound like a valid thought process? We thought not.

If anything, these preseason polls have taught us some valuable lessons. Disrespect will never disappear, and for us to have hoped otherwise was overly optimistic and naïve. Second, our renewed sense of hypervigilance will hopefully ensure that future charlatans are quickly called out and discredited before their ridiculousness spreads to the weak willed and easily influenced. And lastly, we’re sure nothing is going to feel quite so amazing and vindicating as watching the River Hawks prove the doubters and naysayers wrong by kicking the guts out of every team they face all year.

Because, difficult as it may be to believe, we never tire of being right all the time.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Scott permalink
    October 2, 2009 2:39 pm

    You may need to move College Hockey News up (down?) a few notches. In their weekly listing of games, they already have us listed in the early game (the consolation game) of the IceBreaker next Saturday against Army/UNO:

  2. October 2, 2009 3:13 pm

    I’ve missed this blog so much this off season.

  3. RHHB permalink
    October 2, 2009 5:09 pm

    jj, the sarcasm is not appreciated.

  4. HE4life permalink
    October 2, 2009 5:10 pm

    this post is ridiculous. who do you think you are? lowell may be a team with a lot to play for this season but they have proved ZERO. these polls are all speculation and i cannot wait until this team goes out there and misses home ice in the playoffs once again. why do you feel disrespected? do you not think that other schools that are bringing in recruits that are just as good as the players that they lost? just because lowell has players returning doesn’t mean they deserve anything. get over it.

  5. RHHB permalink
    October 2, 2009 5:18 pm

    we notice your email address is “[at],” which a quick googling tells us is northeastern’s domain. looks like someone’s bitter their team got clowned in both the hockey east and ncaa tourneys, and hurt that they’ve lost dear thiessen, the only reason their third-rate team did anything at all.

    have a good season (where “good” is a relative term)

  6. ChiefWahoo permalink
    October 2, 2009 11:33 pm

    Your going to have to edit this post. The Inch rankings came out today.

  7. Dan Anderson permalink
    October 3, 2009 6:32 am

    Preseason polls are typically slanted towards BU, BC, Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, etc, as well as teams that did well the previous year. I wouldn’t be the slightest bit insulted; it is what it is.

    Go out and prove them wrong.

  8. RHHB permalink
    October 3, 2009 5:03 pm

    danderson, we aren’t sure what you mean by “wouldn’t be the slightest bit insulted;” have you ever read this blog? we’ll get you our glossary definition of disrespect and wait for you to tell us again that we shouldn’t feel hard done by. ahem:

    “Disrespect — The thing we hate most in the world, which is unfortunately abundant among non-Lowell fans. Of course, our definition takes a much wider berth than your average person’s, where any praise given to anyone else is obviously an underhanded shot at Lowell, and, indeed, even respect and/or praise that we deem not effusive enough is considered to be disrespect.”

    how else were we going to take these clear and obvious slights?

  9. October 3, 2009 7:07 pm

    No sarcasm intended. Once you get over the hatred of all that is good in the world (i.e. the Minutemen), this blog is fantastic. I really enjoy reading it.

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