Happy New Year, everyone! I’m sincerely hoping that 2017 will be a better year than 2016 was, both on a personal level and for RPI hockey. It would be hard to imagine the new year bringing anything worse than the first half of this season was for the Engineers.
Bright spots, bright spots… wait, I’m thinking. There must have been something…
Nope, I’ve got nothing. Zero, zip, zilch, nada. From Todd Burgess being lost to a red-shirt injury before the season even started, to numerous other injuries along the way (and I’m not offering any of that as excuses – injuries in sports in general and in hockey in particular are part of the game, so teams have to be able to deal with them), to inexplicable poor showings against (what should be) weaker teams like Brown and Arizona State, to unfathomable late collapses when close or even leading in games against Yale, Clarkson, Princeton and others. The first half of the season was just bad, bad, bad.
I’m not usually one for finger-pointing, especially while there’s still a lot of season left to play. I’ll leave that to others, but I will say that I’m not happy, nor should any RPI fans be who have memories long enough to know what RPI hockey is supposed to be. The short version: this ain’t it.
I will say I feel bad for the boys in the program who didn’t expect this and don’t know what to do. Before you jump on me to argue that they ARE the problem, let me agree up front that, yes, they are the ones who are underperforming. But they’re kids, really, and while they certainly know there are problems, they don’t know how to fix them. I honestly believe that they are as frustrated, angry, discouraged and disgusted as we fans are. Maybe moreso as they see the professional hockey careers they dreamed (rightly or wrongly, it doesn’t matter) were ahead looking much less certain.
I certainly don’t have the answers. And I’m not for one minute suggesting that we should be resigned or in any way okay with this performance. I’m just saying that, for me, it’s hard to see the beaten-down looks when they come off the ice after another loss and not feel that, in some way, they are being let down here just as much as we fans are.
So here’s to a MUCH better second half of the season and a happy, healthy 2017 for the Engineers and all of their fans! Let’s go, Red!