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This Week in Disrespect: With Honors

March 8, 2012

With the regular season behind us and the start of the league tournament less than four hours away, we almost — ALMOST! — let our guards down.

But then, over the course of the last week or so, various college hockey media types started releasing their season awards lists, and we were anxious to check them out. Obviously Lowell is deserving of the lion’s share, if not all, of this year’s hardware, but since we didn’t hit our heads last night and awaken in some bizarro dream world, we’re fully prepared to accept the snubs and disrespect that is sure to flow down on the River Hawks like a rancid gravy topping an otherwise pristine mountain of mashed potatoes.

But the disrespect, as you might imagine, does not start there, oh no.

Starting first with a prediction from a website that ranks somewhere just below a Geocities fansite, College Hockey Weekly has put forth its predictions for the first and second All-Star teams of the various conferences, Hockey East sadly included:

CHW Hockey East First Team

F – Chris Kreider, BC
F – Joey Diamond, Maine
F – Spencer Abbot, Maine
D – Brian Dumoulin, BC
D – Garrett Noonan, BU
G – Parker Milner, BC

CHW Hockey East Second Team

F – Scott Wilson, Lowell
F – Chris Connolly, BU
F – Barry Almeida, BC
D – Adam Clendenning, BU
D – Joel Hanley, Amherst
G – Doug Carr, Lowell

Lowell, not surprisingly, isn’t the only team that should have a gripe with this laughingstock of a list, but Joe Cannata and Karl Stollery can fight their own battles. Milner, who played in five fewer Hockey East games than Carr did, is getting the benefit of his fewer games played coupled with the fact that BC had a cupcake of a muffin of a cakewalk schedule down the stretch in Hockey East.

Meanwhile, the very idea that Joel Hanley from Amherst — about whom we literally said “Who?” out loud when reviewing this site — made any list that doesn’t start with “To Cut” is a shocker in our book, especially when you consider that there are four or five better defensemen in the league that we can name off the top of our heads. Shameful.

There exists, in sports media, several hundred people who, for some inexplicable reason, still have a job. John Tomase. Joe Buck. Chaz Scoggins. Add to that list Dave Starman of CBS Sports.

For nine painful years this bozo has been calling college hockey for CBS Sports. Each season, for reasons no one could possibly care about, he releases his end-of-the-year Starzies Awards. (Oh my, a clever play on your last name! Your parents must be inconsolable.) When the winners were announced we were probably doing something productive, such as not watching Starman call a game ever, but it’s always nice to see Lowell names being doted upon.

Then we saw the tweets:

“Starzies announced. Bob Daniels Coach of the Year”

That looked like a mighty silly way to spell Norm Bazin, so we had to read it five or six times to make sure we didn’t get it wrong.

Has there ever been a season in which the Coach of the Year has been less of a one-horse race than this? Stormin’ Norm Bazin took the Lowell River Hawks from a 5-25-4 record (.206 winning percentage) and a 10th-place finish in Hockey East to an unfathomable 22-10-1 (.682) good for second in Hockey East in his first year as head coach of any Division 1 team. That’s insane. Vegas wouldn’t take action on that kind of turnaround. But somehow, he doesn’t get Coach of the Year?

Okay, we admittedly don’t watch much CCHA hockey (and for good reason!), so we’re loath to admit that maybe Bob Daniels of Ferris State could have pulled off a pretty amazing season of his own. We suppose if TWO teams go from worst-to-first you have to leave someone out…

Ferris State Bulldogs:
2010-11: 18-16-5 (.526)
2011-12: 22-9-5 (.681)

Well then.

It’s individuals such as Starman, loathsome, oblivious hacks who are so alarmingly stupid they would pay for a free media lunch, who have cost us our faith in humanity.

In what universe are these two seasons even close? In what alternate dimension does going from the worst season in school history to one of the best suddenly become on par with winning four more games than the previous year? And, even given such a hypothetical world in which the two were equal, Lowell’s also the better team this year, since the River Hawks have a better record and sit above Ferris State in the Pairwise Rankings.

Our kingdom for one, lucid, fact-based argument as to how Daniels gets the nod over Bazin. Just one. Anyone? No, of course not, because you’re all sane, rational individuals who don’t have to pin mittens to your jackets. Out of all the disrespect we sift through throughout the season, it’s this obvious venom is hardest to swallow. When there exists no rational explanation for this pick, it can only be a direct and blatant shot at Coach Bazin, the team, the entire athletic department, the university and, of course, us.

Starman wasn’t finished there. Why would he be? It was the perfect opportunity to give us a stiff kick in the ribs while we’re reeling from the Bazin news.

“Starzie – Rookie of the Year – Joey LaLeggia – Denver”

Now he’s just having a laugh. Right? Let’s look at the tale of the tape:

Joey LaLeggia, defense: 36 GP, 11-26-37 (1.0278 ppg)
Scott Wilson, forward: 32, 15-20-35 (1.0938 ppg)

Again, this isn’t an earth-shattering revelation. Wilson is better than LaLeggia. It’s fact. Science, even. A full 70 percent of LaLeggia’s points are assists, and of those 26 assists, 17 of them were secondary (and, we assume, tacked on in a shady, backroom-deal kind of way the likes of which haven’t been seen since Darren Haydar absconded to a career full of AHL anonymity).

So 45 percent of LaLeggia’s points were from secondary assists, and meanwhile 42 percent of Wilson’s points were cash-money, put-it-in-the-bank, impossible-to-dispute goals. Who’s the more valuable player? Factor in that LaLeggia plays in a worse league against inferior competition and we’re sure you’ve come to the same conclusion that we have: Starman is an absolute joke who knows nothing about college hockey.

To end on a positive vibe, because Lowell is a few hours away from murdering Providence and dancing on its mass grave, we turn to College Hockey News. Once a blue moon someone gets it (mostly) right. And such a glorious day is upon us:

Coach of the Year: Norm Bazin, Lowell

Goaltender of the Year: Doug Carr, Lowell

Rookie of the Year: Scott Wilson, Lowell.

Off to a perfect start, and deservedly so. These three awards duly recognize the contributions of arguably the three most important pieces of this year’s team. The leadership of Coach Bazin, the stalwart play of Doug Carr, and the incredible skill and work ethic of young Scott Wilson. Bravo, CHN.

Let’s move on, then, to their All-Star teams.

CHN Hockey East First Team
F – Spencer Abbot, Maine
F – Brian Flynn, Maine
F – Chris Kreider, BC
D – Karl Stollery, Merrimack
D – Brian Dumoulin, BC
G – Doug Carr, Lowell

To put it bluntly, this is about as perfect as it gets. Extra points to the folks at CHN for recognizing Abbot and Flynn as the catalysts of the Maine top line, and demoting that gutless puke Joey Diamond. Doug Carr ascends to his rightful place as top goalie in Hockey East, a post he secured in a stranglehold the third week of the season and never looked back.

But behind every silver lining is a rather dark cloud, as we’re sure you’ll find.

CHN Hockey East Second Team
F – Joey Diamond, Maine
F –  Matt Nieto, BU
F – Barry Almeida, BC
D – Chad Ruhwedel, Lowell
D – Garrett Noonan, BU
G – Joe Cannata, Merrimack

This is where our one beef (aside from the inclusion of future-inmate Diamond) resides. While we’re thrilled to see Ruhwedel getting the attention he so richly deserves, it was thoroughly disappointing to see Nieto in Scott Wilson’s slot, and, we first assumed, the result of a simpleton like Josh Seguin leaving Lowell’s mercurial freshman off his ballot entirely, out of jealousy.

But with all of the praise and accolades properly heaped on the River Hawks from CHN, we’re confident this is nothing more than an editorial oversight, one which will be corrected and apologized for in the coming hours. Wilson is a magician with the puck, and is just as capable of setting up his teammates with jaw-dropping passing as he is humiliating goaltenders from Orono to Manktato. Nieto? Well, we’re sure he has a bright future at Boston University. We’ll even go so far as to bet Jack Parker will appoint Nieto as official number-changer on the dressing room “No One Kicked off Team in _____ Days” sign, just for being confused with the likes of Scott Wilson.

All of this is proof positive that, even in times of great excitement, no one should let down their guard for half a second. Nay, the enemies of the Lowell hockey program won’t fade into the night from which they skulked simply because the River Hawks have beaten and pillaged anyone who dare take the ice in opposition to them.

We at The Ice is Life will continue to be steadfast in our resolve to seek and destroy disrespect in all its forms. Go ‘Hawks Go!

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 8, 2012 4:34 pm

    Cripes, even we’re not biased enough to put Hanley ahead of Ruhwedel. And we’re us.

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