Thursday, March 26, 2009

Boston's red-headed stepchild

Believe it or not, there is something good about the Bruins playing such a ridiculously light schedule lately... it has allowed me to focus on NCAA hockey, back where the love-affair with all things hockey began!

Typically, my interest in NCAA hockey is minimal this late in the season since Northeastern (the alma mater) is a perennial cellar-dweller and never makes it out of the first round of the Hockey East tournament. Of course, that is even assuming they are fortunate enough to even qualify; something they were unable to do my last two years there. Mind you, that is especially telling since the league was only 9 teams, 8 of which made the tournament! However, this year has been far from typical... NU is having perhaps the best season in its 80th year of existence. They have gone 23-9-4 in the regular season and advanced to the Hockey East semifinals for the first time in 15 years.

In that semi-final game, they led 2-1 going into the final minutes of regulation when disaster struck... they were called for too many men on the ice. Sad thing is, there was no question they were guilty of the infraction... it wasn't even close as the two skaters nearest the bench were both playing the puck-carrier. Brad Theissen, their stellar goalie (Hockey East Player of the Year) was unable to do everything for the Huskies and allowed the equalizer with 30 seconds left. The winning goal was scored a few minutes later on a deflection... there was an eerie sense of deja-vu seeing as the previous night saw the Bruins have a similar collapse to the Kings on the very same ice. [I actually joked with my friend that the ice had some bad juju and that it needed to be changed for the sake of the Bruins. Judging by their strong all-around performance in a division-clinching 4-1 win the following Sunday over NJ, I would like to think someone listened!] Even though the loss dropped their record to 25-11-4, NU ended the season ranked sixth in the nation and earned a spot in the NCAA tournament. They are the #2 seed in the Midwest bracket and will be playing Cornell tomorrow in Grand Rapids, MI. This is only the fourth NCAA bid for NU and its first in 15 seasons (1994 was apparenly a good year for NU!) so you would think a big deal would be made of it, right?

Well you would think wrong... very much so in fact. The morning after the brackets were announced, there was a nice article about BU taking the top seed and how they were the heavy favorites to win it all (>shudder<). The article showed some stats of their first-round fodder (Ohio St) while listing the other teams to make the tournament. That was NU's sole mention in the BOSTON Globe in regards to their making the NCAAs for the first time in over a decade.

Needless to say, I was quite displeased by this obvious lack of respect for Northeastern in its hometown paper. Hell, the Globe gave Ohio St more publicity than it gave Boston's-own Huskies! Lord knows there would have been a full write-up if it were BC or Harvard ranked sixth in the nation! Now I have no problem with BU having its own article... their history and success this season most certainly merit the attention. Same goes for BC... they are the reigning champions after all and have the history that NU does not. But I would still like to think that a local program having its best season in well over a decade would merit SOME attention! I was so displeased by this that I even went so far as to email the author of the article as well as the sports editor. I did receive a response from the author but it just said she does as assigned and she will pass it along the chain of command. Needless to say, never heard anything from the editor and four days later, there is still no mention of NU in the Globe. Pretty damned pathetic that the cinderalla local program gets so little respect here... hell, I think their basketball team got more press for being in the CBI! (WTF?? NIT lite?) Just very annoying and disrespectful in my mind...

Okay, rant over. Sorry bout that... 2 days til the Huskies square off with Cornell for the right to get killed by Notre Dame.

Edit: Apparently the brilliant editors at the Globe feel that their Boston-based readers would rather know more about North Dakota's season instead of focusing on the higher-ranked local team. Gotta love it...

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