This Week in Disrespect: ‘Round the bend
As we basked in the glorious inevitability of last Friday’s victory over Wisconsin, we couldn’t help fear for the proprietors of the local supermarkets. The stampede-like run on napkins by the local and national media to get the egg off of their faces could only rival the fear one must feel at Pamplona. Wisconsin is hot, so they told us. The hottest team in the country, it was reported. Scorching hot. Atomic. A literal supernova.
Of course Lowell, having run out of cares to give sometime around New Year’s, extinguished the inferno like Glacius vanquishing Cinder with an ultra-combo circa 1995. This, we must confess, struck us as something of a surprise, considering we half-expected to hear reports of Lowell players being being rushed to whatever passes for a hospital burn unit in Manchester throughout the game, considering the intense heat coming off the Badger players.
This laughable myth, that Wisconsin was somehow hotter and therefore a danger to Lowell, was a storyline that journalists across the country were tripping over themselves to write about. Once the River Hawks decimated the Badgers, exhibiting the same ease a child might as he gleefully stomps a sand castle, there was nary an apology to be had. Not a single hat in hand, begging the forgiveness of their readers or viewers for postulating and propagating such an absurd hypothesis. In fact, even after the final horn sounded, there were still several outlets that clung to their foolish desire to overhype Wisconsin, as though it held the antidote.
The NCAA posted game highlights from “The Wisconsin Incident” later that evening. The voiceover, undoubtedly performed by a low-level intern just happy to be out of the halfway house, begin the report with the following quote, which we swear we’re not fabricating for the purposes of this report:
“Razor sharp Wisconsin facing a sputtering [redacted]-Lowell squad..”
Upon hearing this as we settled down in front of our computers on Friday night, we literally performed a spit take so majestic Danny Thomas wept from comedy heaven.
Those words were actually said out loud for other people to hear. After the game had ended. Yes, the same game in which Lowell curbstomped Wisconsin to the tune of a 6-1 victory that had partisans on all sides begging for the brutality to be stopped for the sake of preserving the innocence of whatever children were in attendance.
However, in an eternal testament to the whitewashing of all scandals over which the NCAA presides, if one were to look at the organization’s website now, they would find a completely different audio package with those beautiful highlights. During the course of writing this post, we went back to listen to the absolute absurdity of the comment one more time, just to see if we hadn’t conjured it up in a sort of Lovecraftian nightmare. However, this time we found the opening replaced with the following:
“Razor sharp [redacted]-Lowell facing Wisconsin…”
A couple things here: First, better late than never. Second, we solemnly assume that the author of the first voiceover is buried in the weeds somewhere near Secaucus for his slight toward the Lowell hockey team, preferably with a rat shoved into the mouth of his now-bloated corpse. A fitting end to this ham ‘n’ egger, who had the gall to offend Lowell hockey in such a horrid manner. Third, this change in no way exonerates the NCAA for their slight against the River Hawks, and please rest assured that the NCAA itself has now found its way onto the Levels of Judgment. The NCAA is now Dead To Us, supplanting the Lowell Sun from the list, which instead moves down to Gettin’ Fresh status since it finally convinced Chaz Scoggins to retire.
Moving past the initial slap in the face, the narrator goes on to call the Lowell team the “Red Hawks.” Ignoring for one second that the River Hawk is a majestic bird of prey and the common RedHawk is nothing more than a bygone symbol of Communist oppression, the idea that Lowell could somehow be confused with the nobodies of Miami of Ohio is unforgivable. The same Miami of Ohio team that had its Sysco prepared lunch handed to them by our very own River Hawks one year ago. The same Miami of Ohio team that folded once again in the NCAA tournament, in what we’re sure has become an annual event to which the entire college hockey world sets its watches.
Frankly, we feel it’s pretty easy to avoid these mistakes. Just look at the colors of the schools. If the school is represented with the red and white, they are a sub-standard, trade-school tracked, resource room assisted hockey team defined by poor play and even poorer moral standards (See: Miami of Ohio, Boston University, Wisconsin, Cornell). If the school is represented by the Blue, Red and White, they’re American patriots. Defenders of freedom and liberty. Champions of the people. The jewel of this glorious republic (See: Lowell).
When we finished adding the NCAA to our list of people and organizations that have wronged Lowell hockey, and therefore us, we fired up the DVR to watch the actual game in its entirety. Our mistake was not making sure to press the mute button before hitting play.
As the teams took to the ice for the intro, the D-minus-team announcers Clay Matvik and Jim Paradise announced to the viewing audience that “red-hot Wisconsin” would be taking on “local favorite [redacted]-Lowell.”
We’ve already spent enough time laughing at the ridiculousness of combining “Wisconsin” and “red-hot,” except in the case of negatives being inserted between the two terms, and frankly we hope to never hear them used in concert again, unless it’s a news report about a Madison resident and his love of cinnamon candies.
Lowell, though, merely being the “local favorite,” is another kettle of rotten fish entirely. It’s the kind of hack announcing job one would expect at a local wrestling show; where the upstart kid from the next town over is taking on the regional promotion’s biggest heel. It conjures images of a rag-tag group of hockey players, living on nothing more than dreams and borrowed equipment, taking on the powerhouse from the big city. Local favorites. Just happy to be there. Indeed.
Never mind, the announcers seemed to say, that Lowell is the No. 1 seed. Forget for a moment, they implied, that Lowell has been the best team in the country since mid-February, and it isn’t even debatable. Ludicrous and insidious, both.
The invectives slung the way of the River Hawks, unfortunately, did not stop at the broadcast booth. Known cheater and middling talent Nic Kerdiles taped an interview that aired before puck drop, in which he stated that “the way we’re (Wisconsin) rolling right now, we feel unstoppable right now.”
Leaving aside the redundancy that forced its way into this borderline-illiterate’s speech, we will say that it’s okay to have those feelings, Nic. Lots of delusional schizophrenics feel that way. Regrettably for Kerdiles and his Amherst-level teammates, Chad Ruhwedel is indeed a real person, and not just a grotesque monster from the deepest reaches of their most foul dark fantasies. And Ruhwedel did was Ruhwedel does: placed all his pathetic opponents in his pocket for the duration of the game, for safe keeping, only to be released once their shame had been assured.
We’re sure, as Lowell prepares to crush all who dare stand in its way at the Frozen Four, that there will be more naysayers and detractors coming out of the woodwork. This of course is their worst fear realized; Lowell, the best team in the country, is two wins away from achieving the ultimate goal. The handwringing at the Hockey East offices must have worn palms down to bone.
As such, we shall remain as vigilant as always, scouring the internet for trebuchet-launched flaming carcasses of disrespect hurling Lowell’s way at fantastic speeds. It’s what we do.