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This Week In Disrespect: Look back and laugh

March 27, 2013

We’re willing to wager that there exists on this planet no person or persons more concerned with the concept of disrespect than the fine fellows of The Ice is Life. While we wear many hats in putting together this blog, we happily consider ourselves, first and foremost, steadfast guardians of Lowell’s respectability; a duty that we hold paramount against all others, including being fanatical students of the game of hockey and superb sculptors of the written word.

During our illustrious blogging careers, we’ve found that exhuming rotten material for your average This Week in Disrespect isn’t particularly difficult. It has been well-documented that the sheer volume of disrespect we sift through each week is as immense as it is unwarranted. Newspapers, college hockey websites, message boards and emails directed to us (the nerve of some people) can all be chock full of disrespect and are monitored daily by trained professionals for any comments that could be conceived as being even slightly disrespectful to Lowell.

Our system for dealing with individuals and organizations who commit the heinous crime of disrespect is known as the Levels of Judgment. Scanning the spectrum from Assumed Disrespectors (Level 0: everybody on the planet) to Eternal Arch Nemesis (Level 7: noted Lowell detractor and saboteur Joe Bertagna, among others), the Levels are used to identify, classify, and shame those who would cast a dark, malevolent shadow over the River Hawk hockey program and those who support it.

Understanding that disrespect can come from anyone at any time in almost any fashion is the key to conquering our collective nightmare. It is with this mission statement in mind that we bring to you the latest disrespector of the week:

The Ice is Life.

Yes, as hard as it is to imagine, the pandemic of disrespect has penetrated deep within our inner circle. Not even we, the last line of defense against the unbridled usurpers, are immune from disrespecting Lowell hockey. Look, it’s not something we’re proud of, but they say the true measure of a man is his ability to admit when he is wr…wro….wron…less than correct. As such, we’re fully willing to stand up and take responsibility for the blight we have projected on our beloved ‘Hawks.

It all started back in late October and early November. The River Hawks were struggling early in the season, drawing with lowly Vermont and getting their lunches handed to them by Boston College and Denver. After a lukewarm victory against the Maine Black Bears the night before, Lowell came out flat and lost the next night 4-3. After the game we wrote:

This Lowell team, which everyone including us thought was going to be so very good this season, was on the receiving end of a home loss to these 1-9-0 Black Bears, without tri-captain dirtbag Joey Diamond. There are a lot of words thrashing around in our heads right now, including, “puzzling,” “bizarre,” and “maddening.”

And it’s not that we didn’t see the loss coming. You’ll recall that we said we would be not at all surprised to see Lowell come out flat-footed in at least one of these games, and that Maine, hungry and desperate for a win as they clearly were, was fully capable of getting one over on a River Hawks team that has never once this season given us reason to believe all those preseason predictions were in any way spot-on.

Re-reading this now, our faces are crimson, our heads hung in shame. These thoughts actually came from our minds, and what’s even more disgusting is that we had the gall to put them to screen and publish them for the hockey world to see. Just one month prior, we had been shouting from the rooftops that Lowell was the team to beat in Hockey East. And all it took was a marginally slow start for us to throw reason and logic off to the side of the road, and our hands up in surrender.

Did Chad Ruhwedel suddenly transfer? Was Scott Wilson torn apart by wild dogs? Norm Bazin, kidnapped by aliens? These are the only possible explanations for our embarrassing loss of faith. To what madness had we succumbed? Unfortunately for us, this would not be an isolated incident.

On November 17, after the first of what wound up being three losses to New Hampshire, we managed to pull ourselves out of our despair and self-pity long enough to verbally eviscerate our beloved River Hawks, with language so strong that we’re sure we’ll be confessing this mortal sin on our deathbeds:

That should, we think, put to rest any notion that Lowell is in some way still a good team that is just struggling to get its feet going in the early part of the season.

The facts are now pretty clear: This is a deeply flawed team, and the season is no longer in its early stages.

“Lowell is not a good team,” we wrote. “Deeply flawed,” we wrote. We now fully understand the phenomenon of temporary insanity. We can empathize, from the depths of our hearts and souls, with people who have committed atrocious acts and not been able to remember how it happened or why they did it. Any excuse-making at this point would just be Amherstian lip service to our bruised egos, and a vain attempt to cover up the deep stripe that runs squarely down our spines, as bright yellow as our attempt at journalism.

…And Lowell’s season is in some deep, deep trouble as a result.

This from the same writers who cheered and cheered as Lowell hoisted trophy after trophy. We watched from the stands as the players celebrated on the ice in abundant jubilation. We stood wolves in sheep clothing; clad proudly in the blue, red, and white while our hearts were stained black as night with festering doubt and misgivings. If the Tsongas Center had a Boo Box, we’d be prime candidates for such an excruciating, deserved fate.

We would love for this team to figure it all out and actually start living up to the expectations lavished upon it by us and everyone else around Hockey East and the country at large. We can’t see where it happens, though. Maybe Amherst. Maybe not this season. The latter seems far more likely, don’t you think?

The term “unfathomable scumbags” is thrown around a lot these days, but in this instance we feel as if we’re the living embodiment of the phrase. We publicly stated that it would be much more likely that Lowell would take an entire season to reach its expectations than it would find its way against Amherst. We cannot imagine what we were thinking. While we’re aware the punishment of hanging, drawing and quartering was outlawed in England in the early 19th century, we’d be willing to sign a waiver so that our treasonous ways can be dealt with in the proper manner. Please, no funeral.

In December, we entered in to the Holiday Spirit with bad tidings for all and a lack of trust in the team we claimed to love. Bah, humbug!

…the average fourth-place team in a 10-team Hockey East has about 29 points in its account at the end of the season. Meaning that, with 21 league games remaining, if Lowell wants home ice, it will need to take 24 points from 18 games, only six(!!!) of which are at home. Which is to say, it needs to win about 75 percent of the available points from here on out despite having 12 road games. Do you think it can do that?

“Do you think it can do that?” we asked in a sarcastic, smug tone.

Well, be realistic, our backers might say. “What are the odds Lowell goes on a run of epic proportions in the second half and earns home ice?” What are the odds, indeed.

For two gentlemen with faith in their team and trust in the coach, the odds should have been a no brainer. Instead we took the cowards’ way out and proclaimed the season a lost cause.

Not only did Lowell earn home ice, they won the league. Top of the table. The best of the best. To hear us describe it, you’d have thought Lowell ought to be relegated to Atlantic Hockey, mainly because we’re know-nothings, spewing a bunch of overwrought, poorly- pontificated malarkey about a team we obviously underestimated as deeply as anyone could or should. Heckling us in public is a start, and if you have a good arm, why not toss in some rotting fruit?

Finally, we reached our apex of amoral anarchy in early February, right before Lowell would go on an historic run that would lead to its dual championships and the admiration of all.

It might now officially be time to panic.

Sure, to the two uninformed boobs who wouldn’t know a cross check from a crease violation.

Hopes of home ice, let alone the NCAA tournament, seem to be quickly slipping away.

The only thing slipping was the hangman’s noose, braided together from our own doubt and disbelief. With every putrid sentence we pieced together, we tightened the grip around our necks, choking and gagging on the fresh hell we had created for ourselves by forgetting The Ice is Life’s first two rules: Lowell is awesome, and we are awesome.

In disregarding that first detail of dogma particularly, we doomed ourselves to be forever haunted by the specters of Lowell’s numerous achievements. While other fans will remember eternally the thrill of victory and the sense of achievement these players have earned, we will remain eternally plagued by the pain of disrespect and the disgrace of knowing we brought it all on ourselves.

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