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This Week in Disrespect: Going rogue

October 18, 2011

Lowell got its season started off right with a couple of easy Ws over the vastly inferior Minnesota State Mavericks.

And given last year’s dismal performances, we, along with just about everyone else in the college hockey universe, didn’t know what to expect. As such, we kept our expectations low.

The River Hawks, led by excellent performances at both ends of the ice from players we expected (Riley Wetmore, Chad Ruhwedel, etc.) and players we perhaps did not (Terrence Wallin, Matt Ferreira, etc.) swept the Mavs in humiliating fashion and brought joy to the hearts of millions, nay, BILLIONS around the world.

But not everyone was happy. Some coldhearted and frankly joyless clods in the greater Mankato area saw fit to try to rain on Lowell’s well-earned victory parade, and they did it all weekend.

This flagrant and unforgivable disregard for all things wonderful (Lowell hockey, first and foremost) brings us to something we haven’t done in a while. No, no, not “see Lowell sweep an opponent.” Instead, we have not one, but TWO Additions to the Levels to address.

The first comes as a result of Friday night’s mugging of the Mavericks, the game story for which the Mankato Free Press, in its infinite lack of even the vaguest knowledge of the sport of hockey, decided to dub with an insult to our beloved Lowell River Hawks. They could have called it anything: “Mavericks pantsed by clearly superior team,” “MSU demolished in home opener,” “Embarrassment all around as Mavs get steamrolled,” or even “Lowell is the greatest team of all time and the Mavs are fools for having stood feebly in their way.”

But instead, the headline, in a game in which they were outshot 37-27, outscored 4-2 and held goalless on five power plays, was, “How Lowell can they go?” A clever little pun if you’re a Northeastern student, but from supposedly professional supposed journalists? That’s just embarrassing. The implication, of course, being that Lowell is beneath Mankato and therefore for the Mavericks to have lost to them was to stoop beneath Lowell’s level. Well hey gang, how did that all work out for your homer rag of a broadsheet?

Outshot 72-52 on the weekend? Ugly. Outscored 8-3? Hideous. Going 0 for 6 on the power play? Ignominious. Winless in a season-opening home series against a team that won just five games last year? Suicide-worthy.

We’re sure many a tear was shed in the Free Press newsroom, dank, windowless, above a bowling alley and beneath another bowling alley as the dispatches came in. “Lowell just tied it.” “Lowell just went ahead.” “Lowell is now embarrassing us.” “Lowell has turned the lights out on this one.” “We may never know laughter again.”

We’d almost feel bad for them if their team wasn’t so… what’s the word? Atrocious. Yes, that will do nicely.

But the blatant and shocking disrespect somehow didn’t end there, oh no. After Saturday’s game, Justin Jokinen took the time to underscore what he felt was the Mavericks’ main problem: “We know never to underestimate another team.”

Oh yes, THAT was the problem. Underestimating another team. Say, Justin, did MSU by any chance underestimate RPI in that 4-1 game last week? Did it underestimate the other teams’ goaltending and defenses so badly that the team is averaging just 1.25 goals per game? Did it underestimate their penalty kills so badly that the Mavs are 0 for 17 on the season with a man advantage? Did it underestimate their offenses to the tune of 12 goals against in the last three games?

You would have thought that given Lowell’s slicing and dicing of the Mavericks’ patchwork and utterly mortifying defense on Friday, you might have switched things up. Perhaps by dressing 20 defensemen and maybe trying to grind out a 1-0 win like you must have done against RPI (since we can’t imagine how anyone scores less than four against a team this bad on any night for the remainder of the season). Perhaps by simply staying home and take the considerably less embarrassing forfeit.

Is that enough disrespect for you? No? Okay. How about, then, we add MSU coach Troy Jutting to the mix, who chalked the losses up as the result of the Mavericks losing players to various maladies, none of which, as far as we can tell, are “just not good enough to play Division 1 hockey.”

“You still gotta go out and compete, but when it rains it pours right now,” Jutting said, presumably through sobs and sighs more befitting an exhausted kindergartener. The only thing it rained this weekend were Lowell wins. Bring your umbrella next time.

And so as a result of these egregious slaps in the face to Lowell hockey and all who support it, we eagerly bestow upon the Mankato Free Press the dishonor of Gettin’ Fresh. And to Jokinen and Jutting, we grant the titles of Holders of the Asterisk, and will henceforth refer to them simply as “The Great Underestimators.”

Ah, but it seems we cut of Jokinen’s quote a bit prematurely, as he added, “We know we have to come out and play Maverick hockey.”

We don’t know, Justin. You went out in your home rink and got clobbered. Based on what we saw on Friday and Saturday, that sounds like Maverick Hockey to us.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 18, 2011 10:13 am

    What makes that headline from the Friday night game worse is that the writer got it from a commenter on his live blog during the game.

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