Thursday, May 24, 2007

2006-2007 All-Milk Carton Team

For your superiors, summer is just about here and it's almost time for our extended jaunt to the Pinhead Palace's summer retreat in the Greek Isles. While the "people you wish you were" prepare for a few months of Ouzo and sojourns to Pontikonisi Island, we were able to spend sometime together and tabulate our votes for this year's All-Milk Carton Team.

To no one's surprise, America's Team once again showed its eminence in Hockey East while Boston University predictably hit the ground and died faster than a BU coed's first day at Pilates class. UNH's annual postseason dreams again breathed less life than Gerald Ford and Maine overachieved to make the Frozen Four, only to have their goaltender cost them a trip to the NCAA final once again. Without further adieu, Pinhead Nation presents the 2006-2007 All-Milk Carton Team.

2006-2007 Milk Man of the Year

Jason Lawrence, F, BU - Last season 8-14-22. This season 5-13-18

Death. Taxes. BU forwards underachieving. It's the same story every year. This year the Brokeback University forward that disappointed most was clearly sophomore forward and Saugus native Jason Lawrence, although any of BU's forwards were deserving of this esteemed honor. Deemed by some to be more coveted and skilled than America's Team sophomore superstars Nate Gerbe and Benn Ferriero, production dropped from a decent freshman campaign to rather pathetic sophomore numbers. Revisionist historians from Babcock Street will claim that Jack Parker didn't bring in Lawrence to score goals but merely to "set the tone" and become a "terrific faceoff guy." Quietly, BU fans realize that Joey "Woah" Lawrence has a brighter future than the "Sabo-nic" forward they've brought in to win their February national championships. Though its unfair to pick on a man who has the offensive skills as beautiful as the Massachusetts city that shares his name, Lawrence gets our nod as the Milkman of the Year.

Mike Morris, F, NU - Last season 19-20-39 - This season 7-11-18

We'll try not to hurt our shoulder patting ourselves on the back but Mike Morris, a preseason pick for Milkman of the Year, certainly didn't disappoint us. Coming back from a year off, Morris finished third in scoring for NU. Unfortunately, that's like being the third thinnest girl at the Jenny Craig meeting on the campus of Boston University. Morris attempted a comeback in his 5th year in hopes of duplicating his performance from two seasons ago when he scored 39 points for the Huskies. After getting a medical redshirt last season due to post-concussion syndrome, one he likely stole from one of the many Goodwill Boxes that dot NU's campus, Morris was expected to be fresh and ready to put up good numbers in hopes he could sign a lucrative professional contract with the San Jose Sharks. Now that Morris has concluded his college hockey career after his Huskies were dispatched by America's Team faster than it takes for a UMass-Lowell grad to steal a car, it is obvious that those expectations were completely wrong. In the end, Morris couldn't stay healthy, playing in just 20 games and watched his production drop 54% from his junior season.

Robbie Bellamy, F, Maine - Last season: 6-9-15 (+2) This season: 1-7-7 (team worst -9)

Bellamy, a physical player in the mold of Jeremy Wilson (lack of talent, big hitter, run-ins with the law), brings as much offensive skill to the table as UNH coach Dick Umile's ring collection. Although we were shocked to see Bellamy put up decent stats from last season we were not shocked, however, to see Bellamy flop terribly this season. His style of play for the Black Bears continues to help Tim Whitehead take a once proud (albeit cheating) program right down the drain. While your superiors agree that teams need good 3rd and 4th line players and guys who can hit like a freight train, Bellamy's problem is that no one from the other team is ever on the tracks. It seems he can't do anything right and have concluded that for everyone's interests, he should transfer to BU where he'll fit in nicely with their collection of pathetic forwards and college hockey misfits.

Cleve Kinley, D, UML - Last season 0-12-12 (-7). This season 3-6-9 (-4)

How humiliating. Apparently, since Kinley can't seem to get his picture in the sports page, he's resorted to his annual headshot on a milk carton. A repeat from last year's 05-06 AMC Team selections and yet another preseason selection that "made the grade", - an F to be exact. Kinley continues to live with the stigma from being dubbed "better than Peter Harrold" by U.Mass-Lowell's only fan who doesn't send single women running to the medicine cabinet for Penicillin after conversation. While he did improve on his absurdly awful goal total and +/- rating from last season, he had an overall 25% point production dropoff. The good news: Kinley is a senior and will not appear on a milk carton until the "All-Decade" Milk Carton team is announced in 2010. The bad news: Kinley will likely begin a fulfulling career in the landscaping industry where he will help perpetuate the lovely abbreviation we all think of when we hear UML - the University of Mowing Lawns. Good luck with your career, Cleve, we've enjoyed making fun of you the past few years and we're going to miss you. Sadly, you'll go from running the power play to running the power mower.

Eric Gryba, D, BU - 1-3-4 (+4)

Gryba is another "stud" BU recruit whose bust potential is so startling that it would send the ghost of Mother Theresa rushing to the bathroom with Irritable Bowel Syndrom. The "Saskatoon Goon" certainly impressed the Nation with his parking cone defense and penalties that Corky from "Life Goes On" would know to refrain from. For hockey pundits, Gryba does it all: terrible puckhandling, ghastly shooting skills and passes that wreak havoc on his game. Sadly, these are just the tip of the iceberg (which is something he is slower than). Of his many horrific attributes, his lack of agility and pathetic skating has prepared Gryba for an unprecedented run at four consecutive appearances on the "All-Milk Carton Team." His league-leading 205 penalty minutes in the USHL with the Green Bay Gamblers last season were no fluke. The reasoning of that number was that he was always getting into fights (read: Fanboy cult hero John Sabo sans shoe) and thus racked up many minutes of time in the sin bin as a result. Not only did Gryba lead Baghdad University in PIMs by a wide margin, but his 38 infractions are more than double that of the next best (or worst?) BU player.

Tyler Sims, G, PC - Last season: 17-15-2 record, 2.32 GAA, .916 save %, 3 SO This season: 7-19-2 record, 2.76 GAA, .898 save %, 1 SO

Last season PC was the surprise of the year. This year, it was back to reality for the "Forever .500" Friars. With Paul Pooley helping Notre Dame dominate the CCHA, Friar fans can now thank Ty Sims for this season's hockey ineptitude. Picked to finished 6th this year, they finished 8th, just 3 pts ahead of UML for the last playoff spot. The dropoff in goaltending performance by Sims was remarkable as he was owned like a monkey by just about every forward in the free world. 10 fewer wins, an 18 point dropoff in save percentage, and a .44 rise in GAA. Of course, we find his selection to the AMC Team very fitting given he shares his first name with that of former UNH (and NHL) choke artist Ty Conklin, the absolute gold standard for awful clutch goaltending in hockey history.

"Dean" Blaise McDonald, coach, UML

They say it's not how you start, it's how you finish. Well, if that's the case, than Old McDonald has a problem. Despite starting reasonably well by Lowellian standards (3-2-3 record in their first 8 games) and finishing strong (5-2-1 in their last 8 games) the University of Mowing Lawns' 06-07 campaign mattered most in the middle where they played in 20 straight games without a win. One can't help but think the Riverhawks might have made a rare playoff appearance if Blaise didn't leave the cupboard bare going into the season. If you all recall, it was the way he treated players that led to losing senior-to-be defenseman Adam Staniech and fantastic goaltender Peter Vetri, a player we're likely sure would have made a difference over Nevin Hamilton and Carter Hutton (who?). Instead, the Riverhawks found themselves getting out the golf clubs in early March. To rub salt in the wounds of McDonald and mutant UML fans are the questions of the program's future as the powers that be try to make UMass-Amherst the only state school in the conference. Everytime you think you've seen a new low our friends in Lowell kick it down a notch. Low. Lower. Lowest. Lowell.

There you have it, our 2006-2007 All-Milk Carton Recipients. Congratulations to the winners and here's hoping for continued incompetencies and best wishes when they trade their helmets for hair-nets as they begin their careers in the fast-food culinary services industry.

Collar Up.