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This Week in Disrespect: Way up there

December 7, 2011

If you’re pro-River Hawks, this is a great time to be alive. Mostly.

Lowell hockey is giving its loyal fans all they can handle right now: A packed Tsongas Center, stellar goaltending, exciting play, sensational rookies, Rene Rancourt, a boisterous student section, the Stanley Cup, veteran leadership, shutdown defense, a coach that gets it, and the return of fried dough. You like goals? Lowell’s bringing in 2,000 barrels a week.

The detractors, however, continue to cling to their tried-and-true formula. The better Lowell does, it seems, the grander the scale and greater the potency of disrespect that is hurled its way. While Lowell remains a steadfast fortress — a beacon of truth and a living embodiment of all that is good about college hockey — it remains, always, a target for those who lurk beyond the borders of decency and sanity to load their trebuchets of petty jealousy and contempt, ready to fire with reckless abandon.

Truth be told? We’ve seen a lot of disrespect over the years. Direct and underhanded; subtle and weapons-grade. We’ve seen it trickle in (ever-present, still) and been almost bowled over by the deluge. So when we say we know disrespect, you’ll agree.

Hockey East, the very entity that exists to promote the successes of its members (and, despite its best efforts, Lowell remains a member) is the most serious offender of the past two weeks, both in quality and quantity.
Submitted for your approval: The case of Scott Wilson. You know him as Lowell’s feisty freshman forward, No. 23 in the program, No. 1 in our hearts. And frankly, what’s not to love? Wilson has, in his short career with the River Hawks, demonstrated a natural ability to make spectacular plays and the gusto to finish his chances, often in highlight-reel fashion. Coupled with his blue collar work ethic, it’s safe to say we owe a tip of the cap to former coach Blaise MacDonald for recruiting a player like Wilson. Unfortunately, the folks at Hockey East don’t quite see it our way (the sane way).

You see, despite earning Rookie of the Week honors twice for the month of November, the nefarious powers that be at Hockey East decided that giving more than one monthly award to Lowell (Doug Carr having been named Goaltender of the Month, and rightly so) would most likely rip a hole in the space-time continuum, and opted to give the award with what we can only assume was an ear-to-ear grin and some maniacal laughter to UNH forward Grayson Dowling.

A quick glance at the stats solidifies our position that Hockey East is not only going out of its way to screw Lowell, it’s also no longer even trying to hide the fact.

Wilson: Five games played, four goals, four assists, 1.6 points a game. Let’s compare that to Dowling’s five goals and four assists in seven games played. Why, that’s just 1.2 points per game. How strange. How very strange indeed.

Not only did Hockey East decide that Dowling’s numbers are, in some voodoo-math way, more impressive than Wilson’s, it also casually chose to leave out the fact that eight of Dowling’s nine points were scored against Harvard (2-2-4), Alabama-Huntsville (1-1-2) and Amherst (1-1-2). It’s unfortunate that Salem State wasn’t available for the Wildcats to schedule, as Dowling surely could have hung a half dozen on the Vikings in an effort to further overinflate his stat line. The fact of the matter is, Scott Wilson is the best freshman in Hockey East, and it’s not debatable. We’ll be sure to make a note that a formal apology is being sought on behalf of Mr. Wilson. It will be added to the pile of hundreds that Lowell, and thus we, are owed.

But why should the league stop kicking a team when it’s already reeling from the disrespect? That’s what we’re assuming was tossed around the Hockey East boardroom inside the Hall of Doom while Bertagna played ping pong with Solomon Grundy. As the calendar would have it, there was another batch of awards being prepared for the first week of December. Another opportunity for Bertagna to unleash the Disrespect Ray that Brainiac had developed from what we can only assume was stolen Kyrptonian technology. Bertagna never disappoints.

Doug Carr, undeniably the best goalie in Hockey East and easily top five in the country, had himself a weekend. While he didn’t register any shutouts (UNH can score goals, despite their EmJHL-level net play), he put the team on his back and kept them in games that would have cracked previous Lowell squads like so many UNH fans’ fragile egos. Carr’s numbers were impressive: 78 of 83 shots faced for a save percentage of .940 on the weekend. So, which player did the braintrust decide was more impressive than Carr? This is where Hockey East sticks in the spear and breaks off the handle — it has CO-DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK. And neither of them are Doug Carr. That’s right: they’re saying he’s third-best. Third!

Tough to criticize Alex Beaudry’s 49 saves on 51 shots (a .961 save percentage). But who was the other, Gump Worsley-level netminder who could have usurped Carr’s rightful crown? Chris Rawlings of Northeastern (gross) with 47 of 50. Do some quick math and you’ll find that this is a save percentage of… yes, .940.

So apparently, if you’re giving an award to a goalie with a .940 save percentage, it’s much better to stop 47 shots against a non-conference opponent than 78 shots versus what was, at the time, the No. 4 team in Hockey East. SEVENTY-EIGHT! The sheer absurdity of this slight is almost unfathomable. Not that we’re surprised, mind you. Now the naysayers will point out that Rawlings went on the road for a pair against No. 2 Notre Dame, and that Beaudry backstopped Providence to a pair of wins over No. 1 Merrimack (which, let’s face it, is horrifically overrated). Valid points? Of course not. Look at the cold hard numbers. Doug Carr is superior to at least one of these ne’er-do-wells in every way.

It would be great if we could say that was the long and short of the disrespect for the week. It would also be great if HD-DVD had won the next-gen war, if Goodfellas hadn’t been slighted at the 63rd Academy Awards (Dances with Wolves? Seriously?) and the soft drink Surge had never been a thing, but we don’t have that kind of pull.

USCHO.com, a site familiar to most in the world of college hockey, released its highly-anticipated rankings once again this week, and Lowell, having received a pitiable 17 votes in the pervious poll, had gone out and, fully in the Holiday spirit, handed UNH its lunch (a dry bologna sandwich). Being a couple of guys who are obviously both rational and well-informed, we made the logical conclusion that Lowell, being 9-4-0 and tied for fourth in Hockey East, would come in somewhere between seventh and 11th. Makes perfect sense, right? Right. So you can imagine the vile nausea (but not shock, never shock) that we felt in the pits of our stomachs when we learned that Lowell had been ranked just 18th in the nation. Aside from being a number associated with the despicable Brandon Yip, the only 18 we want to ever see is on the back of Michael Budd’s sweater.

If you want to know our opinion, and judging by the page views, you do, we’re sure Jack Parker is somehow behind this deplorable act. Oh yes, this has Parker stink all over it. Suddenly, sensible coaches and less-sensible media members are leaving Lowell off their ballot, or for those who still have a conscience, ranking the River Hawks somewhere in the 20 range. If not for the few coaches and/or media members who are remain true to the cause and voted with courage, we have no doubt that Lowell would have dropped off the table all together.

Coincidentally, where do you suppose Parker’s Terriers ended up? If you guessed 11th, collect your prize at the door (it’s a dry bologna sandwich, we had extras). Wonder how that happened. To recap for those at home, Lowell 9-4-0 overall and 6-3-0 in Hockey East, who took BU to the cleaners several weeks ago in an affair so ugly that several sections of the Geneva Convention were violated is 18th, while BU, sitting at 8-5-1 and 6-4-1 in-league is No. 11. Yup, Lowell has two games in hand against the Terriers. One particularly clueless BU fan commented that Lowell having beaten BU in their only meeting of the season was the ONLY reason the River Hawks cracked the top-20. Yes, that must be it. It has nothing to do with buzzsawing the rest of Hockey East on its best start in years, despite being just one removed from the worst performance in program history.

Sure, BU is the reason.

So let this be a lesson to Lowell’s many, many enemies: even when things are going well for our dear alma mater, we remain vigilant. No slight will go undetected, no insult unnoticed. The River Hawks are flying high these days, but it just gives us a better view.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Dave S permalink
    December 7, 2011 4:15 pm

    What do you considered a properly dressed bologna sandwich?

  2. Chuck permalink
    December 8, 2011 10:18 am

    That you Monty? Would you like some cheese with that wine? :)

    Nice work so far boys. Looking forward to that home and home in mid-February.

    • RHHB permalink
      December 8, 2011 12:47 pm

      “Would you like some cheese with that wine?” What wine?Did you mean “whine?” That would have made more sense.

      But that’s that BU education for ya, we suppose. If you’re looking for any other clichés to use, we would caution that it’s “Someone call the waaaaahmbulance,” not “ambulance.”

      Thanks for reading.

  3. Monty permalink
    December 8, 2011 12:39 pm

    Nope, this isn’t my blog.

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