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This Week in Disrespect: A lump of coal

January 4, 2012

With the holiday season fresh in our memories, we here at The Ice is Life consider ourselves to be fortunate individuals.

We’re Lowell fans first off, and the gravity of this cannot be overstated. There’s a certain nous savons pas ce quoi that comes packaged with the comforting fact that, unlike Amherst and Vermont, our team is not unwatchable garbage. We were on hand to witness Lowell raise the UConn Toyota Classic trophy after imposing its will on RPI and toying with the host Huskies just long enough to ensure a bitter New Year for the three-dozen or blue-and-white supporters in the building. And lastly, there’s the River Hawks themselves; a tough, cerebral team capable of putting up a five-spot on any given night while playing shutdown defense in front of the best goalie in the country.

The scary thing? This team is young. Freshman Wilson, Wallin, Buco, Suter and Eiserman have all been playing at exceptional levels. Coupled with a sophomore phalanx of Arnold, Pendenza, Ruhwedel, Holmstrom and Carr, Lowell is poised to be a nightmare for opposing teams for the foreseeable future. We really can’t blame the recent trend of players from other less-talented teams bolting from Hockey East, fleeing in the middle of the night, taking only what they could carry, in a frenzied attempt to get out of the way. Sound advice for the rest of Hockey East: Don’t be a hero.

And one would think that with Lowell’s success and the cheerful spirit of the holidays having hung in the air, the disrespect would be minimal at this time of a year, a kind of a 1914 Christmas truce, as it were.

You, of course, would be foolish. Lowell’s detractors take nary a day off, preferring a more Tet Offensive route to meet their nefarious goals, with treachery and a Stephen Tocco-level of backstabbing.

First on tap, the unreadable internet abomination known as College Hockey News. A recent post looking back at the first half of the season caught our eye because we expected it to heap praise on our beloved River Hawks. And sure enough, while several predictions made by the staff for the second half of the season sang Lowell’s praises (not nearly well enough, but what can you expect from a publication that makes the Lowell Sun seem reputable?), one writer in particular took the opportunity to not only smear our beloved ‘Hawks, but at the same time promote his alma mater, Amherst. (A fact we confirmed through some digging, because admitting that you’re an Amherst graduate is not something you want following you around):

“Massachusetts makes a charge up the Hockey East standings and contends for home ice until the final weekend, as the success of first-half surprising teams [redacted] Lowell and Providence begins to tail off.”

– Michael King

As always, be sure to take the words of an Amherst fan with a grain of salt and some Tylenol, as the level of pure unadulterated stupidity is sure to produce a migraine.

Let’s, for half a second, entertain these ridiculous ideas. Could Providence College tail off? Sure, it’s possible. Providence had a good first half of their season, culminated with a sweep of then-No. 1 Merrimack at the beginning of December. However the Friars have been winless in their last two, a tough loss at Boston College and a surprising and somewhat dubious loss to cross-town rival Brown in the Mayor’s Cup. Providence’s upcoming schedule includes home-and-homes against floundering Boston University and an atrocious UNH squad, the final tilt with Merrimack and trips to both Lowell and Amherst. There’s room for success in the month of January for Providence, but the notion that they could tail off is not a far-fetched one.

The second point: Lowell falling off. Is it possible? Sure. It’s also possible that a meteor could strike the earth, killing us all in a Michael Bay-like disaster sequence. But it’s not likely. The River Hawks have one of the easiest roads in Hockey East during the second half of the season, and play the large majority of those games in the friendly and imposing confines of the Tsongas Center. But even if we’re willing to entertain the idea that Lowell could be anything other than dominant (and we’re not), the last part of this equation is the most ludicrous.

Massachusetts making a charge up the Hockey East standings and making a push for home ice? Let that sink in for a second, remembering the whole time that this isn’t the Twilight Zone and you really aren’t experiencing a living nightmare.

Amherst is going to do this. Yes, the same Amherst team that currently sits at a pathetic 2-6-3 in Hockey East and a laughable 6-8-4 overall.  The same Amherst team that is currently fifth in scoring offense, eighth in goals allowed, and dead last in overall special-teams production. The same Amherst team that is 0-7-1 in road games and 1-8-1 (including neutral sites) away from the cavernous tomb populated by meatball sub-eating, Natty Ice-drinking, couch-burning, backwards cap-wearing, tribal tattoo-sporting, bro-spouting, F-bomb-dropping, low-class, Neanderthal-intellect, strap-hanging nobodies of the Mullins Center.

Sure, that makes perfect sense.

The author’s ties to Amherst were obvious, as no non-Amherstian could write such a disillusioned paragraph unless they were having a laugh or are clinically insane. We’re a little stunned that even an institution as low-rent as College Hockey News would allow such drivel to be posted in public where normal human beings might actually read it, except we understand that journalistic integrity is on par with grooming habits and hockey knowledge as things that are sorely lacking in that office.

Moving on from one clueless institution to another, we come to HockeyEastOnline.com. While not in the business of giving opinions on all things Hockey East, the mouth breathers that run the operation have found themselves on our radar for what we can only interpret as a vicious and direct attack on Lowell during the UConn Holiday Classic. As we prepared for what we knew would be the eventually raising of a trophy in glorious victory, we happened to check the aforementioned website for other score updates. Much to our surprise, they were reporting that Lowell had fallen to UConn 2-0 in the championship game. Which was odd, being twenty minutes before the puck had dropped. Now, some would have you believe that this was a simple mistake; an obvious error caused by a webmaster not paying attention. To those of you who would believe such tripe, we’re going to go ahead and deduce that you also believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and that man did in fact walk on the moon. Fat chance.

Staying with HockeyEastOnline.com, there’s the little matter of weekly awards. Many times this season the powers that be have found new and stomach-turning ways to deny River Hawks the accolades they so richly deserve. While we applaud the decision to grant Rookie of the Month to one Stephen Bucco, we’re at a loss to explain how Scott Wilson was yet AGAIN denied Rookie of the Week honors, instead being bypassed for inferior competition.  Wilson posted a 2-1-3 line at the UConn Holiday Classic, finishing the tournament at a plus-2. Vermont’s Colin Markison was instead bestowed the honor, having posted a 2-1-3 line at the Catamount Cup while being a surprising “even” rating on the weekend (surprising because how did anyone on Vermont not finish a minus?), during which Vermont went 1-1 and hoisted no trophy, not that there’s a trophy in the misleadingly-named Catamount Cup anyway.

Even if the stat lines had been identical (which they were not, plus-2 being greater than even), Wilson is heads and shoulders above Markison in every perceivable category. Oh, did we not mention these were Markison’s first goals of his career? Whereas Wilson has posted an 8-8-16 mark on the season, Markison had only three assists in his prior 16 games.

To recap, the better player with the better stat line was passed over for an award he earned so that the braintrust at Hockey East could make some loser in Burlington feel good about himself. The universe is a wholly unfair place indeed.

In the end, we were rightfully punished for expecting better of Lowell’s many enemies. It turns out that this year, like all others, disrespect was in every stocking and under every tree.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Monty permalink
    January 4, 2012 3:55 pm

    In general as a sports fan, I read a lot of stuff online. There is no writing anywhere that competes with this though … “The same Amherst team that is 0-7-1 in road games and 1-8-1 (including neutral sites) away from the cavernous tomb populated by meatball sub-eating, Natty Ice-drinking, couch-burning, backwards cap-wearing, tribal tattoo-sporting, bro-spouting, F-bomb-dropping, low-class, Neanderthal-intellect, strap-hanging nobodies of the Mullins Center.”

  2. Antonio permalink
    January 4, 2012 8:18 pm

    In other news: the egregious comment by Mr. King was made under the heading “Bold Predictions,” conveniently located below a section offering traditional analysis of the season thus far, and above a section offering “less bold predictions.”

    Shame on that publication for offering a piece featuring perspectives which, by their explicit presentation, were defined to be a bit more outlandish than “I think BU or BC will win hockey east this year.”

    Your article also failed to mention that all four of the remaining “bold predictions” mention UML as a late-season contender. (“UML, Providence and NU take over,” “UML qualifies for the NCAA Tournament,” “Either UMass Lowell or Merrimack is going to win the Hockey East Championship this season,” and “UMass Lowell will go toe and toe with Boston University for the regular season league title come late February. They may fall just short but the run that this team will make will surprise many who have not seen them play.”)

    You are right to question the validity of a particular statement, but to act like UML is somehow victimized by everybody from UMass Amherst alums to the kid trying to figure out HTML coding for the scoreboard page is a bit…well…odd.

    Making persuasive points is much more difficult when you have to acknowledge tricky things like context and facts. Don’t you worry thought. A UMass Amherst alum is always willing to help another alum (regardless of whether they use make-believe names for their school). Here you go, http://www.umass.edu/writingprogram/112.html.

    • RHHB permalink
      January 4, 2012 8:23 pm

      Have you read this blog before?

      • Antonio permalink
        January 4, 2012 9:09 pm

        no.

      • RHHB permalink
        January 4, 2012 9:15 pm

        We recommend giving it a whirl next time so you don’t look like an idiot.

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