Sticking Fingers Into Sockets

Hey guys, hey. It’s Matt again live from state employment wishing you a happy Thanksg….wait, whats that you say? Its past Christmas already? Holy christ, I have been bad in updating this blog. Sorry about that guys. We had such good intentions.

But yes, what a season we have endured so far. The highest of highs, the ineptest of ineptitude, golly gee this season has had it all. And, because I’m Matt and I’m the lazy one, we are going straight towards bullet points for this rip-roaring recap.

Massive Highs

  • Ah, where to start but beating BC. If there was ever going to be a signature win for this program, that would be it. Up to that point, I had never seen UMass beat BC. Like, ever. I came in to UMass and became a fan of the program during 2009, the Jimmy/Casey year. My first taste of BC/UMass hockey was December of 2009 where BC beat UMass 3-1 at the Bill in a relatively close but sluggish game. I was one of the few fans left in the student section after the 7-1 abortion of a game that was the official beginning of the Cahoon swoon/understanding what it means to be a UMass fun. I was there in the Conte (Cunte, lol) on the glass watching the Minutemen let it go in OT. I was there for both losses in the HE Quarterfinals watching any remaining potential for the Wellman/Marcou era drip away. I )was (not, thankfully) there for a 5-0 thrashing early into last year’s often painful campaign. I was there late February where a UMass team hitting its sweet spot (NOTE: sweet for that team was not losing by 4 and allowing 68 shots on Paul Dainton) lose by 1 two nights in a row of a home-and-home. I watched that same team lose 2 more spirited yet fruitless games against BC in the HE finals where we bid goodbye to the team as they boarded the bus back to Amherst (and inversely found out that Doug Kublin was aware of the Kubby Kounter). Just a few months ago I saw UMass get beaten completely and comprehensively by BC at Conte, where we bore witness to the first Teg-Stand game of the year (Seriously, Teglia was the only reason that game wasn’t 11-2 and it continues to be the reason I prefer Teglia over Boyle, but more on that later). So, to review, thats 11 games, 10 in person, with the exact same outcome: an overwhelming desire to punch somebody in the face. So, going into the game there wasn’t much hope. Hell, I’ll admit I seriously questioned going to the game as I assumed it was a guaranteed loss. A number one team versus a team that got beat by Providence with a goalie that got pulled the night before? Not a great precursor. But this team made it happen, literally every piece of the team came to win and they did it in fairly convincing fashion. It was a highlight in a year that, even by the most liberal predictions, was going to be up and down. The words “holy fucking shit we actually beat BC” were uttered by both friends and strangers as UMass fans went home deliriously happy for the first time in a long time. When I went back to the Boston area for thanksgiving, random members of my girlfriend’s family (who are from Hingham, a BC stronghold if there ever was one) as well as one awesome gas station attendant were talking about UMass beating BC. And then I realized, oh yeah, this is what happens when we win. Its a good feeling.
  • Speaking of what happens when we win big, I would like to officially welcome Charley “The Maven from Lock Haven” Molnar to the UMass family.(Some fun facts about Lock Haven University: The Bald Eagles play Field Hockey at a D1 level in the A10 and  their football team holds the longest losing streak in all of NCAA Football with 43 straight losses) You may know Charlie from being the offensive coordinator for the most insufferable college in the world, having the almost comically impossible accomplishment of holding a coaching position at every directional Michigan university and having THE BEST INTRODUCTORY PRESS CONFERENCE IN UMASS HISTORY. Holy shit this guy has balls. Listen, I was the one with a big ole’ man-crush on Mike Leach (most likely for his overwhelming weirdness and FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHT CAMEO) but Molnar is exactly the type of coach UMass needs to build the program: vocal, charismatic and with experience in the midwest. All signs point towards him being able to recruit the rust belt states that require a long suicide inducing drive through Western Pennsylvania to get to and thats whats going to be needed to field a competitive team. Texas and California recruits are not happening in big numbers right now. What the recruiting plan for UMass should be is “live in big University setting with lots of (southwest, Camby aproved) pussy and have your family and friends see you play 4 times and year. Come on fellas, get on the UMass train!” and at least we know Molnar knows how to pitch that.
  • While I was on board with Derek in saying Connor Sheary was going to be the best non HoPS player on the team this year, I gotta say, Guzzo is giving him a run for his money and absolutely locked down “bestest surprise breakout gumbo!” player of the year. Guzzo’s passes have been spectacular, his defense gritty and he’s shown a bit of a scoring touch as well. He has the uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time and for a team that has a long illustrious history of having players in the wrong position at all times, its a welcome change. Plus, kids got a perfect sports name. So many U’s. Gotta love yelling GUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUZZZEE.
  • Chaz. Need I say more? Chaz is the biggest game changer in the DK era and is proof that a point guard is key in the college game. Yes, the team has struggled at times this year, but never have I had the optimism that the team could win on any given night than I do this year. Even with Ricky, the team was consistently below par. But with Chaz I see players that would otherwise be fighting to have the ball passed to the so they can put up a bad shot settle back and trust that the point guard will find them in their spots. Not only that, but Chaz can create his own buckets in traffic with ease. Its great to see this team run after years of it being the obvious thing we never do.This team may not be tops of the A10 but they won’t be at the bottom either and for the first time in the DK era the team is overachieving (albeit from fairly low expectations. Its finally (kinda) fun to watch this team and thats more than enough for me.

Fight Meh:

Hey we have 3 goaltenders that don’t suck. Hell, we have 2 goaltenders that are above average. But golly, I still don’t think we have the shut down goalie that UMass needs to be a top 4 team in Hockey East. Let this run on paragraph be my official entry into the 2011-2012 Goaltending debate. Ok, well lets start with the obvious. Kevin Moore, keep on bloging baby, you are not going to tend net for the Minutemen this year. Stephen Masterlerz of puppets? Yeah, you are not our goalie either. We were assured by the Father of Connor Sheary that Masterlerz is the best of our goalie bunch from seeing him play in prep school, but that supposed superiority has not shown through. In fact, Masterlerz has not proven himself to be an equal of his fellow goalies. So we must say goodbye to Masterlerz in the Fight Mass goaltender search. Now ,judging from the media and fan alike, the consensus UMass goalie of the season/future is Kevin Boyle. However, I would disagree and say, as of right now, Teglia is the better goalie. There is no doubt that Boyle has gotten much better as the season has progressed, but Boyle still gets me nervous as fuck when I watch him play. His positioning is good but hes a bit slow to cover and he’s never seen a shot he didn’t want to turn into a rebound. Don’t get me wrong, I like Boyle and think he’s a viable long term option, however I truly believe that one of the largest attributes of Boyle’s success has been luck. Teglia, on the other hand has suffered from terrible luck this season. He’s been hurt, and when he has been healthy enough to start the team has played like absolute crap in front of him. As previously mentioned, Teglia was the lone shinning star for UMass when they played at BC early in the season, and when playing at BU, Teglia was the reason the game even made it to OT after horrendous play in the 2nd and 3rd. Boyle is a great technical goalie, but Teggs (yeah, we’re switching to that) has that uncanny ability to make the holyfuckingshit save, an attribute I will refer to as standonhisheadability. Lest the term be broken down to its literal meaning, Teggs can stand on his fucking head. Its Daintonian in a way. Teggs suffers from the same “WHY ARE YOU PLAYING THAT PUCK IDIOT” moments as Saint Paul did, but at the same time he makes the same amazing saves that keep you in any game. There was always an unshakeable feeling during the Dainton era that made you feel some glimmer of hope going into any game. “Yeah, we probably won’t win but if Pauly has a good night we have a punchers chance”. Teggs evokes that same feeling in me, and golly, The “Tegg Stand” is too good a term to be wasted. Thats why I think Teglia should be G1 of the Dillon Panth….I mean UMass Minutemen.

Other things that are happening

Well gang, that was a fun little “unreadable block of text-athon”. Lets do some quick thoughts then go the fuck to sleep

  • Seriously UMass, where the fuck are my Frozen Fenway jerseys DO NOT FUCK THIS UP UVM HAS ONE AND SO DO I. I swear to god I will make this a reason I’m not giving to UMass when the annual fund calls before I stop and go to the confused freshman “lol no but seriously here’s $100 go away I’m poor”.
  • Oleg has become, so predictably, a fan favorite. But the student section doesn’t understand the smashing Oleg produced in the first few games was bad and he’s been  exponentially better lately. “Oleg , smash, ugg why didn’t he hit that guy” “BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE A PENALTY YOU STUDENT SECTION IDIOT WHY DO YOU LIKE SEEING OUR PK EDDIE OLCZYK IS NOT THAT FUCKING EXCITING”
  • But seriously folks, hats off to the PK and standout Eddie Olczyk. Good job buddy.
  • The banner is a 6 at best, but it blows away the UFO Mullins center theme Max made last year that we trashed so thoroughly he made the poorly made Kubby banner which I still hold as my favorite. It was like the potato chip. Badger Max and good things will happen out of pure spite.
  • HAHAHAHAHAHA MAX ADDED A SNOW THEME THIS IS THE WORST BLOG EVER I WOULD COMPLAIN BUT I HAVEN’T WRITTEN ANYTHING IN MONTHS AND DON’T EVEN COUNT AS A WRITER ANYMORE.
  • Also, I tap my proverbial stick to Max who manned the twitter account a few times recently. Every time he has run the twitter account it has been funnier, more insightful and, in general, more better. I would let him have it because of the better quality but fuck that the twitter is mine and you will have to rip it from my cold dead hands before I give up the one thing I do competently.
  • Mike Marcou hasn’t been terrible this year, but it still makes me nervous to watch him play. I assume this is what its like for a parent to watch their kid drive. “Him? Driving? The same one that drove the tricycle off the porch and broke his leg?”
  • I know the out of touch white folks on UMassHoops disapprove, but I’m kind of obsessed with the Shakespearian nature of the Freddie Riley twitter feed. First, it used to be abovetherim1 or some close variant but now its @youngFLYandAshy which makes me laugh for reasons I’ve yet to understand. But Freddie has the most perfectly absurd twitter ever. He hates UMass some times (don’t we all sometimes), openly has an air of annoyance when he has a bad game or doesn’t play and retweets some of the best tweets ever (example, from yesterday: “the people that be in the video game stores be looking weird as shit”). Not only that, but Freddie himself has some classics. One time he tweeted simply “taking a shit”. But the cool thing about Freddie is that him twitter feed makes him come across as a tortured genius/curmudgeon. He’s oddly political, calling out blacks for buying too many Jordans and pondering to himself whether he should become the voice for black people. He went apeshit on the Steve Jobs love (rightly) calling him an unredeemable capitalist that never gave back. And while other players hide their feelings from the message board trolls Freddie lets it all out. He misses High School, is confused what he will do after UMass, and seems generally uncomfortable with his status as a Basketball player within the UMass culture. In other words, he’s a fucking human. Yes, me and Freddie got into some twitter beef last year where he called me out for being over critical in my tweets during a game and I called him out for being an offensive liability. However the thing that I have come to appreciate is that his response to the blog is such a uniquely Freddie Riley thing to do. He wears his heart out on his sleeve and doesn’t think twice about telling a blog to fuck off after it comes and makes 10 Big Shitty jokes in 2 hours. Freddie doesn’t write for you, Freddie writes for himself and if you want to come along for the ride so be it. My obsession with the Freddie Riley twitter has made me appreciate Freddie as a person. Yeah, he’s a frustrating player to watch, but the talent is there and watching such an emotionally complex human struggle through life is an amazing character study. I root for Freddie, and I can honestly say, beyond the obvious choice of Chaz, Freddie is my favorite player. I root for him so fucking hard. I really want to see him succeed, After 2+ years of watching him bear his soul online, good and bad, I see him as the scrappy underdog. This run on paragraph is entitled: How I learned to stop worrying and Love the Freddie Riley.
  • I’m in love with the Fight Mass spam queue. The spammers are getting fucking crafty. Example 1, on a random contributors corner post: “And to think I was going to talk to someone in person about this”. Other one’s are equally vague and out of place but intentionally misspelled. On the same post: “I’m impressed! You’ve managed the almost ipmsosible” and, my personal favorite, on a random Max essay: “If infomration were soccer, this would be a gooooooooal!”. Haha, I love you spam queue.
  • Charley Molnar has 8 kids. That guy either loves to fuck or hates birth control. Don’t let him near Matt Hill.
  • Oh cool, we got the local kid to come to UMass. As a QB. When he was being scouted as an LB. By other shitty teams. Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Kellen Pagel era continues!
  • Less than 2 weeks to Frozen Fenway. Fuck Yes. More posts when that happens (hopefully).

Feel free to complain about how terrible this post is,

-Matt

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