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Friday thoughts: Like when a clown dies

February 20, 2010

(Suggested listening for this post: Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks”)

There’s an episode of The Simpsons in which Homer is introduced to the concept of what the John Waters set calls “camp.” The character that tells him refers to it as, “The tragically ludicrous. The ludicrously tragic.” By that definition, both this game and this season are the campiest things we’ve ever seen from this team. It should be wearing a Hawaiian shirt and neon green slacks at this point.

It’s no longer that this team simply living up to our extremely high expectations, it’s more that this soul-crushing campaign of infinite despair has reached its lamentable but logical conclusion a bit earlier than we thought it would.

Let’s start with this game and exactly what makes it just so tragically ludicrous, just in case you need it spelled out for you.

We noted in the weekend preview that if you shut down Gustav Nyquist then you shut down Maine and obviously that was the key. Well we probably don’t need to tell you this, but Nyquist had a goal and two assists by the end of the first period and finished the game with a 1-4-5 line. Of course Brian Flynn, he of the 5-2-7 night, will rightly grab the headlines (this being just the second time since 2000 or something that a player scored five goals in a single game), but Lowell gave up seven goals with Nyquist on the ice, and that’s not a coincidence.

Another preposterous happening: Blaise MacDonald got an eyeful of what Carter Hutton with a full workload and the senior netminder answered the bell spectacularly, turning aside 66 of 69 shots. In fact, Hutton had given up more than three goals just once since October. In the last month, he had faced 170 shots and given up 11 goals over six starts. Compare that with Nevin Hamilton, who had given up 10 goals on 108 shots over the same stretch, but in just three games. And then guess which goaltender inexplicably, mindbogglingly got the start in what had to be recognized as an unbelievably important game.

It was Nevin Hamilton, who hadn’t played in 14 days, playing against a high-powered offense to which he had lost earlier this year and against which he had never played in Orono (as opposed to Hutton who actually has a win there, which is more than you can say for just about every Lowell goaltender since the turn of the century that isn’t Jimi St. John). And Hamilton gave up three goals on eight shots in the first 17:32 and got the hook, placing Lowell’s hopes of not getting totally blown out on Hutton, though the milk had of course already been spilled and there was no use in trying to put it back in the bottle. It’s not that we don’t get the decision to pull Hamilton; it had to be done. But we don’t understand why you start him in the first place. It was a terrible decision for MacDonald to have made.

A further laughable event: this was the game in which Lowell finally broke through offensively. Lowell only put 17 shots on net last night. It scored FOUR goals. But those goals all came at times when Lowell was already down at least two goals, so really there wasn’t one of them that mattered much in the grand scheme of things.

And that’s just a summary of the most egregiously ludicrous happenings. That both Jeremy Dehner and Matt Ferreira returned for this game doesn’t matter much. Carter Hutton saw his GAA jump by a fifth of a goal doesn’t matter much. That, seriously, Flynn had seven goddamn points doesn’t matter much. We’re shocked and saddened by it, but at this point we have had our joy over and hope for this team murdered so violently, and so many times, that we just can’t be bothered to care.

And that brings us to what is ludicrously tragic. This whole season started out with so, so much promise and that has been squeezed out of it by poor performances pretty much from Thanksgiving on through to yesterday, with yesterday being the last straw for us. We’ll ride out the remainder of the season, but what reason do we have to get excited? This was Lowell’s one year to do anything even remotely good. Its first chance to have two good seasons in a row for the first time in forever. And it simply defecated all over that chance for any number of reasons. The coach and apologists will blame injuries to important players at critical junctures. They will blame offense and lack of confidence. And any scapegoat they try to concoct will ring hollow. There can’t be any excuses for this disastrous finish. Even if the team does finish above .500 (and we’re not banking on it at this point), the goal was a Hockey East regular season title, which won’t happen, a Hockey East tournament title, which won’t happen, and an NCAA appearance, which won’t happen.

And worse, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not like next year will be better. The only non-freshmen on the roster will be Scott Campbell (if he stays), David Vallorani, Mike Scheu, Rily Wetmore, Mike Budd, Pat Cey, Matt Ferreira, Joe Caveney, Jason DeLuca, Maury Edwards (if he stays), Ryan Blair, Chris Ickert, Tim Corcoran, Colin Wright and, technically, TJ Massie. Just 15 players, only a few of which stand out as the kind that can make a significant impact at the college level. That’s a 20-loss team right there. No question about that.

We honestly don’t know what to think any more. Except that we think the season should have ended in November.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2010 6:37 pm

    Time to replace the coaches – Talent underperformed this year – They also are not building a team properly for the future – It’s going to be a rough ride the next couple of years – A new coaching staff should be a better recruiter than the current administration

    • RHHB permalink*
      February 20, 2010 7:11 pm

      recruiting obviously isn’t the problem.

      • February 21, 2010 8:58 pm

        Serious question for you guys … I know I’m actually pretty happy with the recruiting that Coach MacDonald and his staff are doing. How about you guys? I know we have to wait another season to see Wallin and the older Eiserman, but for next year I’m looking forward to seeing Arnold, Thompson, Carr, Ruhwedel and definitely Melchiori.

  2. Jon permalink
    February 21, 2010 12:03 am

    I put the blame for this season squarely on the coaching staff, it will be interesting if Meehan sees it the same way. The Chancellor has a lot of dollars and a lot of commitment to success riding on this program and I can’t believe he will accept this level of performance over next 10 years.

  3. February 21, 2010 2:27 am

    Can’t understand why the coach would not start last weeks defensive player of the week in goal, in an important weekend.

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